All non-profit societies have their ups and downs and in July 1997 the SCAC reached a new low when all but two of its directors, frustrated at the lack of community support and volunteer help, resigned. Who would have thought that less than a year later the arts council would not only be in existence but would be thriving in its new location in the former municipal office on Main Street? The revival, spearheaded by Helen Poncelet and Barbara Etter, was due to a combination of hard work (which included some creative arm twisting), timing and, last but not least, pure good luck when Municipal Council responded positively to the arts council’s lobbying for a new home.
Early in 1998 the former municipal hall became the Art Centre & Gallery and renovations got underway to create a multi-purpose art space. The first, and most important, renovation project was to create a two room art gallery. This meant knocking a hole in the wall and creating an archway, painting walls, pulling up lino and putting in track lights. The work was all done by volunteers and by spring all was ready for the first exhibition, which opened in May. It was a gala event featuring the work of painter and sculptor Zelko K. That same month 75 street banners were hung.
That summer Art Walk and the Summer Arts Program for kids, supported by the former council, were reinstated. A number of other programs begun by former art council boards were continued as well. These included:
• the entertainment series held during winter
• quarterly newsletters
• art gallery exhibitions
• workshops for kids and adults throughout the year
Other initiatives included:
• The banner project
• Tile for toonie project
• Philosophers’ Cafe
• Studio Tours
• Gift Gallery
• Season’s Sparkles Annual Artisan Sale
• Christmas card competition
• permanent collection (policy & art works)
• Artist-in-Residence program
In early 2014 we learned that our home of sixteen years was being sold to the Okanagan Regional Library to facilitate the construction of a new library in Summerland.
In the ensuing months we found a new location – 9908 Main Street – and took over a portion of what had been the Willowbrook Lane store. Our board and volunteers spent hours planning, preparing, renovating and moving to the new site.
In the spring of 2016 we learned we would be moving again. This time to the former library building (Blagborne Building) at 9525 Wharton Street. While there is still renovation and building to do, we have managed to run and increase our summer program for Children and bring back member groups that have been displaced. It is our hope that the building will be a meeting point in the community for creativity and culture.