A new art venue has opened in the Rotary Arts District as a space for artists to gather, collaborate, learn and display their work.
The Art Matters Art Centre-gallery and artist collective is a non-profit centre sponsored by Art Matters Society with a concept of being a social space for artists.
The venue has a gallery space, a store offering art supplies, fair trade, jewelry and eclectic items, a workshop area and a small stage with a limited 35 seat capacity.
The 800 square foot space sits at the entrance to the Harbour Quay at 5417 Argyle St. in the building that was the former space for Love and Inity, whose owner decided to move back to the mainland.
Jumping at the opportunity to open a space for artist’s to gather and create, Gwynne Hunt of Art Matters Society held a series of meetings to see if there was public interest to create the location as an art centre and collective.
“It was a pretty good response right off the bat and I got three or four people committed to volunteering and that was my big thing,” Hunt said.
The centre is run solely on the efforts of volunteers who have the opportunity to work on their own art while on shift at the shop.
In the first week, the centre has secured 25 members with a goal of reaching 100.
To become a member of the artist collective it’s $25 for a membership for a year and with that artists can put their product in the centre, sell their work, do performance art and run workshops.
Community Support members pay $20 for a membership and receive a dollar off all events, workshops and gatherings.
Hunt said any art is welcome to be displayed in the centre as the society is non-voting and there is no panel to judge anyone’s work.
Members can rent the work space at the back of the gallery for $7 an hour and use it for meetings, band practice, work space or how they please. A large work table is set up under a large window offering natural lighting and views of the harbour.
“The whole concept was to keep it really inexpensive,” Hunt said. “If someone’s got a group of people that they want to meet and talk about art they can just pay us $7 an hour.”
Hunt is aware the Valley already has various art venues and said that has been a common thread she’s heard since opening the new centre.
“I see us as complimenting what’s already there because there are things that we’re lacking in the community, for one, theres no place to have auditions or rehearsals. You have to pay to rent from the city,” Hunt said.
Currently the gallery showcases a selection of works from Port Alberni artists; Jillian Mayne, Rachel Rose, Jen Fisher-Bradley, Kristen Hunt, Robert Gunn, Tehani Burnett, Ann McIvor and Joan New.
Each month a featured artist will be displayed beginning in October.
For those wanting to brush up on their artsy skills or to learn something new, workshops will be available at the new centre beginning in September.
Acrylic painting, colour your own taro cards, wax painting and how to write your own story are among the many classes offered at the gallery.
To celebrate their opening and welcome people to explore the new gallery, the art centre will be holding a Summer Feast on Saturday, Aug. 27 from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Corn on the cob, salads, pies, cookies and refreshments will be available to members for $5 and non-members for $6.
To become a member, volunteer or to learn more about workshops and events, visit the centre from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call 778-421-1220.