Society for Arts on the South Island (SASI) board members Kathryn Fudge (left), Sheryl Parsons and Niki Green say they hope to find a new space for the Coast Collective Art Centre by 2021. Until then, they’re moving out due to the pandemic. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)(Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Colwood art centre shuts its doors indefinitely

Board members look for new location when feasible, continue online

Kathryn Fudge is up to her waist in boxes as she begins packing up the remnants of a once-bustling arts centre. The only things left in Coast Collective Art Centre in Colwood are disassembled shelves, a slew of mannequin torsos and every box size you can imagine.

The storefront on Wale Road is closed indefinitely due to the pandemic.

“We had just hired a new staff member when the lockdown came into effect,” said Fudge, the current president of the Society for Arts on the South Island (SASI). “It was such a difficult decision. It’s not just a business, it’s a community. Without any revenue, it’s been difficult to justify us going forward. We’ve had to write a lot of cheques.”

Fudge said their schedule for the arts centre was booked through the end of 2020 with galleries, day rentals and workshops. They even had an Australian artist set to fly in for a gallery show in July.

READ MORE: After a double lung transplant, Langford barber understands importance of safety precautions

Due to their workshops bringing in a majority of the income for the collective, Fudge realized they wouldn’t be able to pay their staff of two part-timers and a new recruit for too long. With the collective not wanting to run into debt, they avoided applying for federal government COVID-19 benefits because every avenue only offered interest-free loans, which they couldn’t afford to repay in the long run.

Throw in the cost of monthly rent and the numbers didn’t add up. That’s when they sent out an email to their collective of nearly 80 artists to ask advice on the next steps.

ALSO READ: When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP has dealt with the pandemic

“It was an overwhelming vote to keep the collective together,” said Fudge.

“We have a strong desire to start again, but it’s all in a matter of time. This space is so important for the community to experience local art. If you took away this place of expression and artistic learning, we’d be living in a dull place.”

Going forward, the collective will keep their online presence active and keep their ear to the ground for potential places to re-open when it’s more economically sensible.

“It’s tough because things were looking really good for us before everything shut down,” said Fudge. “We knew we had to close when we did or we’d go completely broke.”


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

Arts and cultureCity of Colwood,

 

Society for Arts on the South Island (SASI) board members Kathryn Fudge (left), Sheryl Parsons and Niki Green are packing up the remainder of the Coast Collective Art Centre in Colwood. Their operation has come to an end due to the pandemic. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Just Posted

Extravagant marriage proposal in Ucluelet

“It was such a dream. He brought a dream to life. No one does this anymore.”

Nanaimo’s Best of the City: This year’s winners

Readers smash voting records in this year’s poll to determine the best Nanaimo has to offer

Ucluelet mayor criticizes province’s lack of communication as highway closures resume

Daily closures return to only highway in and out of Tofino-Ucluelet starting Sept. 30

EDITORIAL: Let’s take steps to clear the smoke

Work needed to make wildfires, heavy smoke and poor air quality things of the past

Island Corridor Foundation launches survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

Changes to lumber exports are welcome news for San Group in Port Alberni

San Group hoping to have new remanufacturing plant up and running by mid-October

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs back on the ice for extended training camp

First exhibition game will take place Oct. 2 against Nanaimo Clippers

Art+Earth Festival gets growing this weekend

Find out what events are in-person and what’s happening online

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Nanaimo RCMP seize firearms, ID, portable debit machine as ‘prolific offender’ arrested

Austin Carlson-McPherson, 24, accused of crimes in Nanaimo, Duncan, Port Renfrew and Sooke

Island RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway in Nanaimo

North Island MP accuses federal Liberals of ignoring veterans

NDP critic critical of Throne Speech priorities

Most Read