Creative Community: Shatford is a destination for creativity

Years ago, I wrote a column for the Western News and I am proud to say I am back to writing to bring awareness to one of the South Okanagan’s most important heritage assets.

The Shatford Centre turns 100 years old in 2021 and it is home to Okanagan School of the Arts, a non-profit organization that also marks a 60th birthday in 2021. Okanagan School of the Arts arranges for professional and emerging artists, musicians and performers to mentor, coach and help awaken creativity in a wide range of ages and stages of students. It is developing into a destination art school with great potential.

Together, Shatford Centre/Okanagan School of the Arts, is a convergence of creativity, heritage, community, innovation, volunteerism and resources. We like to think of it as another community centre in Penticton.

Good News Stories from SCOSA

We can feel the energy of the 97 year old heritage building shift enthusiastically when a large group of children arrive.

It is why we are proud to announce that Shatford Centre/Okanagan School of the Arts has partnered with the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club to provide a program called the Creative Academy, which is in development through a grant from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen.

Matt Hatch, Okanagan Boys and Girls Club program co-ordinator, brings together the children and staff after school at the Shatford Centre on Tuesday afternoons.

The routine is that the children and staff land in a classroom for a snack and orientation, then children select their choice of activities. So far, choices are the auditorium for recreational and fun games and the visual arts studio for creative adventures. We are also adding the Rotary Community Learning Kitchen as another option in the next few weeks and are looking for studio and kitchen help-mates to help enhance this weekly experience. Let us know if you are interested.

Get creative

The winter edition of the Shatford Chronicles is available in print and online ( with interesting courses to consider taking.

One example is Anne-Marie Harvey’s Portraits – Feel the Fear and Paint Them Anyway! Anne-Marie is a Signature Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. I was introduced to Anne-Marie at her home and studio built on acreage on the road to Naramata. These buildings are art projects in themselves and along with her husband Chris, were built over an eight year time span. Anne-Marie hand painted beautiful ceramic tiles and worked on the design of the rammed earth structures that surround their home. I was awe-struck with the architecture and learning about Anne-Marie’s background, creativity and life as an artist.

On her website,, you can read about her first 23 years as an artist exploring and painting in the wilds of Northern British Columbia and the Yukon. Anne-Marie also, along with her husband Chris explored the wild outer islands and coast of B.C and lived on a house boat at Granville Island for many years.

A few new upcoming courses are Bill Blair’s Shrines and Icons Workshop and a selection of fabric workshops with Gayle Walford, who is passionate about fabrics and upcycling materials. She has personally saved tons of fabrics from going to the land-fill and would like to share her love of creating beautiful designs out of discarded fabrics. Go to for the details on these and other courses.

The development committee chaired by Karen Collins is meeting to work on strategies to help Shatford Centre/Okanagan School of the Arts thrive sustainably while also taking care of the historic Shatford Centre and its aging infrastructure. We appreciate individuals, organizations and businesses connecting and showing support for this community project. You can become a member, donate cash or in-kind, volunteer and if you own a business you can participate in our new 2018 Sponsorship Program.

During February, Dick Harris, chair of the restoration and beautification committee, and Louise Punnett, chair of the volunteer committee, are inviting volunteers to help paint the main floor exhibition space and clean/organize the storage areas. This is ideal timing for Shatford Centre/Okanagan School of the Arts Yard Sale being planned for spring. If you have items you would like to donate for this fundraiser, please give us a call. We have a room dedicated to gathering saleable treasures looking for a new home.

Bill Everden, chair of the exhibition committee, has met with his committee which is making plans for community convergences in the form of exhibitions, such as ‘Art from the Heart.’ Artists are invited to contribute up to two works of art by Feb. 6. ‘Art from the Heart’ opens at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 and you are invited to come and meet the artists.

For more information on the Shatford Centre drop into 760 Main St. for a tour, to look around or go to, email or phone 250-770-7668.

Jane Shaak is the executive director of the Shatford Centre, Okanagan School of the Arts, and writes this monthly column exclusively for the Penticton Western News.

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