B.C.’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport said she’s “incredibly impressed” with plans to build a new $35-million world-class art gallery in downtown Duncan.
Lana Popham toured the current gallery, located in the Green Door building on Ingram Street, with members of the Cowichan Public Art Gallery Society on Aug. 3 while they outlined their plans for the much larger 30,000 sq. ft. gallery that would be constructed on the same site around the Green Door building.
“The sense of teamwork here is enormous,” Popham said after the conversation with society president Jock Hildebrand and other members. “That’s not always the way it goes with these types of projects. It seems it’s not a matter of if this gallery will be built, but when.”
The society’s concepts for the new Cowichan Public Art Gallery, which is planned to be the largest art gallery on Vancouver Island, are substantial and far reaching.
The gallery is expected to become a major cultural institution on Vancouver Island due to its unique programming, custom-designed buildings, and its strategic placement in the Duncan downtown area.
The society is hoping and anticipating that funding for the art gallery will be from the federal government, the province, and local fundraising by the society, with each expected to contribute approximately one-third of the costs of the project. The society has just begun its fundraising efforts for the capital project and the meeting with Popham provided an opportunity to gauge the province’s interest in helping to fund it.
Asked if the province would be willing to fund one-third of the project, Popham said she and the government had just recently been introduced to it by Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley and other art galleries on Vancouver Island.
“We’re going to figure out how we can support this, but we’re still at the early stages,” she said. “We’re going to look to the federal government to meet us half way. The arts and culture world is part of the new economy that we’re all embracing.”