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Penticton art centre evicted after School District refuse cheaper lease – iNFOnews




June 03, 2020 – 3:33 PM

The Okanagan School of the Arts has until the end of the month to vacate the historic Shatford Centre building after the Okanagan Skaha School District refused to cut a deal with the not-for-profit organization on its lease renewal.

School of the Arts board president Keith MacIntyre told as its lease was about to expire, they approached the school district, which owns the building, and tried to negotiate a vastly reduced rate while the art school navigated the turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the School District refused the art school’s proposal and would not renew or extend the lease and ordered them to vacate the property by June 30.

“We weren’t expecting a sudden eviction order… especially in the current climate,” Okanagan School of the Arts executive director Kim Palmer said.

Prior to the pandemic, the downtown Penticton not-for-profit art school held a variety to courses for the public, put on events and rented out facility space. Now in its 60th year, it had to shut down all its operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic cutting the majority of its revenue streams.

The School of the Arts has let the Shatford Centre building for $1 a year from the School District for the last 10 years. The art school pays the utilities bills and maintenance which MacIntyre estimates costs $6,000 to $7,000 a month. Over the last decade, the organization has put around $2 million into the 99-year-old building.

MacIntyre wouldn’t give a precise figure of what was proposed but said it would see the School District cover the bills and some wages.

“We felt it was a pretty fair number,” he said. “We thought (it) would be probably less than it would cost SD67 to take over the building themselves because there is a lot to deal with in that building…. They’re going to have to pay (the bills) anyway.”

MacIntyre said the proposal put forward for the reduced costs would only have been temporary until classes and programs could restart and they could present a viable business plan and look at signing another five-year lease.

MacIntyre said the School District’s decision was a real disappointment and he was upset at having to shut the building down and seeing all the work the organization did go “out the window.”

“With a moratorium on commercial and residential evictions in B.C. because of the pandemic, we did not expect this from SD67,” MacIntyre said.

A media release sent out by Okanagan School of the Arts said the organization now has the task of emptying the building which contains valuable and specialized equipment, pianos, commercial kitchen appliances, and a wide variety of art supplies.

Palmer said she didn’t know where the equipment would be stored or what the future held for the art school.

The Okanagan Skaha School District 67 was not immediately available for comment.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won’t censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2020


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Métis women hoping to revive live art with 5 temporary outdoor installations across PA – Prince Albert Daily Herald



Local Métis artists Danielle Castle (left), who’s also the acting educator at the Mann Art Gallery, and Leah Dorion (right) are working together on five temporary outdoor art installations throughout July and August. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

Danielle Castle and Leah Dorion firmly believe they were meant to collaborate. The two Métis artists are the same person at heart: They’re both inspired by the land and dedicate their lives to arts education.

In fact, Dorion sees a younger version of herself in Castle. She remembers, nearly two decades ago, when she was trying to kickstart her art career while raising her son.

The pair is launching their Intergenerational Métis Artist Mentorship Project on Friday. Outside of the Mann Art Gallery from 1 to 3 p.m., weather permitting, they’ll be collaboratively creating a sidewalk chalk mural.

That will be the first of five temporary outdoor art installations across Prince Albert.

“We’ve had so much fun scouting locations, pitching ideas to people that we’re working with,” said Dorion. This includes the Mann Art Gallery and the City of Prince Albert.

“It’s going to go well no matter what because we’ve already—together—learned so much about how to do this public art.”

Castle is the acting educator at the Mann Art Gallery. Last year, the gallery launched a small residency project with Dorion.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic entered Saskatchewan, Dorion hosted workshops there making Métis moss bags and Plains-style Métis ribbon skirts.

“We were looking for ways to extend and do things with Leah at the gallery for her mini residency that we started, and we were just looking at grants and how to do it,” explained Castle.

“Then, with COVID, things changed. Leah was just like, ‘You know what, I want to mentor you,’ and I’m like ‘yes.’”

Dorion will work with Castle on the outdoor installations, teaching her how to plan, produce, install and implement the art.

The project is inspired by Dorion’s children’s book The Giving Tree: A Retelling of a Traditional Métis Story. The book highlights the culture’s core values, including strength, kindness, courage, balance and love.

Nowadays, they said, live public art is scarce.

One of Dorion’s favourite memories is setting up her easel at Batoche National Historic Park. Children who were there on a field trip were constantly checking in, excited to see what her next brush stroke would bring.

“When people see me working publicly, making art, they’re so inspired and so curious and so excited. We don’t watch people live, making things as much as we used to.”

Castle agreed, saying art isn’t always about seeing your finished work on display.

“It’s the process, not your final product,” she said. “It’s so important. That’s where you’re getting the therapy and the expression.”

“I think the public will just come to the spaces and just feel good about the art being in the public locations. It will really elevate the city’s story and the city’s visual arts,” added Dorion about the temporary installations.

The Intergenerational Métis Artist Mentorship Project is funded by the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Leadership Grant from SaskCulture and the Community Initiatives Fund.

Castle and Dorion will be working on each of the five art installations in accessible locations for the public to come watch and ask questions. They’ll be ensuring that no more than 30 people are gathered at one time, and that everyone is physically distanced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

They will be working on separate projects on the Friday of every week, for the next five weeks.

However, they may have to move the events to the weekend depending on the weather. The Mann Art Gallery will update the public on its social media platforms.

“To work with younger artists pushes a person who’s been practicing art for so long to different directions,” emphasized Dorion.

“It’s honestly such a perfect time in my life,” said Castle about the collaboration.

“The universe made it happen.”


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Coronavirus: Vernon Public Art Gallery moves fundraiser online –



Staff at the Vernon Public Art Gallery have been hard at work to move their biggest fundraiser of the year online.

The 34th annual Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts, a garden party that has been adapted to an online art auction and night of entertainment made viewer-friendly to ticketholders from their homes, where they can enjoy live music and a little friendly competition.

Read more:
Artist Collective move into new space in Kelowna

“It’s such an important event not only for our community but for the operations of the gallery,” said Dauna Kennedy, Vernon Public Art Gallery executive director.

“In order to maintain the type of work we do from the gallery we look at raising $80,000 to $90,000 between fundraising and Midsummer’s Eve of the Arts is our big fundraiser of the year.”

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The event normally raises approximately $60,000 for the gallery. All money is raised through ticket sales and a live auction.

Read more:
Coronavirus: Vernon Secondary School’s grad street art is back after nearly 40 years

“Culture is one of the foundational building blocks [of our community] without culture you don’t have community,” said Andrew Powell, Vernon Public Art Gallery president.

“It’s a great opportunity for the gallery and I think there’s a lot of artists that like to use it as an opportunity to showcase themselves.”

The art that is available on auction can be viewed at the Vernon Public Art Gallery. To join in on the festivities on July 15, visit their website at 

Zoos and Aquariums fundraiser

Zoos and Aquariums fundraiser

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Video brings art exhibit to life, raises funds for Lethbridge Soup Kitchen –



Art, culture and community; that’s what a group of Alberta creators are trying to promote with their latest venture, a video highlighting a local artist after his exhibit was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was heartbreaking,” said John Savill, owner of the Trianon Gallery in Lethbridge. “We had an opening, but then immediately after, COVID[-19] started and no one was seeing the show.”

The novel coronavirus has imposed a number of restrictions on Albertans, including artists trying to showcase their work. One of those artists is Robert Bechtel, who has roughly 200 of his paintings currently on display at the Trianon Gallery.

Bechtel is a local artist who attended the University of Lethbridge and has a studio near the city.

The Trianon Gallery and its latest exhibit by Bechtel can currently be viewed by appointment-only because of the pandemic. The limited access sparked an idea among some local creative minds to bring the exhibit to the masses.

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READ MORE: ‘The show cannot go on’: Canada’s arts scene takes hit from COVID-19 

Nick Bohle, a producer with HatChap Productions Inc., and Savill put their heads together and decided to make a video highlighting the artist’s work so everyone can enjoy the exhibit.

“A chance meeting with Nick Bohle led to a conversation that led to a video and then a concept of a sale that we would donate back half the profits of the sale [of the art],” Savill said.

The Lethbridge Soup Kitchen has been selected to receive 50 per cent of the profits from the sale.

“It’s local, it’s very direct, it feeds people that need help and has been operating a long time and is a wonderful organization,” Savill said.

“I think it’s always good to reach out to the community, especially in these trying times, and to help the most vulnerable people in our society,” Bechtel says in the video.

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“Art is going to reach out, be more than just painting — it’s going to reach out to the community.”

The joint effort proves that even during a pandemic, passion for art can go beyond the canvas and touch those in the community, even if you can’t see it in person.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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