It’s been a long time coming, but Hornby Island is ready to move on its Arts Centre project.
The Hornby Island Arts Council (HIAC) recently announced it has firm plans to start the construction of the facility in the coming year.
“The arts are core to the identity, culture and life of Hornby,” HIAC board chair Louise McMurray said in a news release. “They are an essential part of what makes living on and visiting Hornby so special. They also represent the island’s largest employment sector. This is a defining moment for the future of Hornby.”
The main structure will be a 2,750-square foot space, purpose-built space for exhibition and programming.
Of this, about 1,500 square feet will be devoted to exhibition space with a secondary space of roughly 500 square feet. For visual artists, the building should provide about 250 linear feet of hanging space. The rest of the building will include space for offices, restrooms and mechanical rooms.
“We’re replacing a 1960s Atco trailer at the end of its life,” said executive director Andrew Mark. “We only fit about 15 people inside an exhibition.”
The community has lined up funding from different levels of government as well as finding funding on its own. The Arts Centre is expected to cost approximately $1.375 million to construct. For financing the project, HIAC leveraged its $125,000 building fund into $910,000 in cash and secure match funding.
“We fully anticipate starting building in 2020,” Mark said.
HIAC has established a volunteer fundraising committee, chaired by Courtney Pratt, to oversee contributions toward the campaign.
“HIAC is asking for your support now so that it may unlock matching funding and shepherd the project into the hands of professional builders. HIAC will publicly recognize and thank donors who wish to be recognized,” Pratt said in the news release.
The need is there for the facility, according to advocates, who point to the place the arts hold for people on Hornby Island, with so many people drawing at least some of their income from the arts.
Daniel Arbour, the electoral area director, represents Hornby on the regional district board and knows the arts are crucial to life on Hornby. The community has been working for many years, he says, and is excited to see the funding coming together.
“The artists have worked for a long time to try to get a space that reflects the quality of art and interest on the island,” he said.
Arbour said an economic action plan for the area revealed that the most reported source of income on Hornby is arts, though several people have more than one source of income.
“The one [source] that’s mentioned the most … the number one across the island was arts,” he said. “We found that really interesting, and that supported the project.”
HIAC is looking to raise the additional $175,000 for the Arts Centre through donations. It can be contacted at 2115A Sollans Rd. on Hornby Island or online at www.hornbyarts.com.