Tucked behind some trees on South Fletcher Road in Gibsons stands The Arts Building. It opened in 2009 as a place where people of all ages could gather and create. Local artist Sandy Buck, who sits on The Arts Building Society board as an advisor, first became involved by facilitating puppetry workshops. “My kids have grown up at the Arts Building,” says Buck. “Now it feels like a part of the family.” Buck is currently running Little Hands on Friday mornings, a program of creative play for preschoolers. “It’s a great place to get messy and explore art,” says Buck. “And a great place for parents to socialize and paint alongside their kids.” Friday afternoons features Creative Open Studio, where artists in any medium are welcome to use the space and meet other artists.
The Arts Building also houses Huckleberry Childcare which opened its doors in September 2016. “The space wasn’t being used during the day,” says Katherine Scott, Treasurer of the Arts Building. “It was renovated [to accommodate the daycare] and now there is a much improved building that can be used by everyone.” The two groups also worked together to get funding for an art garden that will be planted at the corner of South Fletcher and Winn Road. “It’s something for the kids and for members of the community for outdoor art classes that will be coming this spring,” says Scott. The daycare also provides the Arts Building with some rental revenue which complements monies raised through memberships, workshop fees, and seasonal events like December’s Festive Sale. Scott also managed to get program funding to start up Open Mic Night for writers and a Lunchtime Inspiration Speeches series, both monthly events that are free to the public. “I wanted people to have access to the Arts Building,” says Scott. “These are community events. Everyone is welcome to sign up.” February’s theme is ‘If I were brave, I’d…’ and takes place Feb. 17. The next Open Mic Night is Feb. 22.
In keeping with their philosophy of building community through art and engagement, The Arts Building is hosting The Sunshine Coast Welcome Party on Sunday, Feb. 19 from 1-4pm. This free, family friendly open house will feature stories, games, treasure hunts, puppets and good food. “It’s not just about art, but about creative community,” says Buck. “People say ‘I’m not an artist, I won’t go there,’ but art is just the tool that we use to bring people together.”
More information, including the full programming schedule, is available at artsbuilding.org. To volunteer, become a board a member, pitch your idea for a workshop, or sign up for Open Mic Night or the Inspiration Speeches, contact: email@example.com or call 604-740-7790.