New lease on life for Shatford Building

The Shatford Building, formerly a part of Penticton Secondary, has found a new career as a centre for the arts.

Randy Manuel

Randy Manuel

Now in its ninth decade, the Shatford building is coming into its own, as the former school enters a new stage of life.

“We are just laying the groundwork and framework for this,” said Jane Shaak, Shatford Centre director. “What has happened here is a delightful good news story to save this old building, this beautiful heritage asset in our city. This building is an icon.”

It is also a theatre, 300-seat auditorium, print making studio, administration office space, festival grounds, and community hub.

“We really want to support what is already going on and give to the people who are interested in the creative side of life as much as we can,” said Shaak.

Shaak said the push now is fundraising to build a community kitchen that would provide teaching and demonstration opportunities. The price tag is $220,000 and Shaak has a vision of people coming in to teach cooking classes, nutrition and wellness, local farmers using it and skills classes where food can be processed by canning, preserving and dehydrating.

In June, a fundraising concert is planned at the Shatford to celebrate the gift of a Bechstein studio grand piano, which Stu Goldberg will be dropping in to perform on. Shaak plans on having a series of fundraising concerts for the community kitchen cause.

As Shaak said, the Shatford Centre has become a hub for the creative community. On any given day you can find musicians, artists, photographers, dancers, singers and other creative types of all ages walking through the doors.

“There is a whole team, a whole group behind this. There have been such amazing people that have helped so much. Every person has been so critical, I don’t know how we could have done this without all these people,” said Shaak.

Then summer really heats up for the building with Canadian fiddle entertainer of the year Scott Woods returning to the Shatford for a concert on June 9 at 2 p.m., Strings the Thing in July, the summer guitar program featuring Rock Skool and other Okanagan School of the Arts programs (www.osarts.com) and the return of the Jazzcool festival with Will Schlakl as the artistic director, a youth program designed to get students (Grades 7 to 12) excited about jazz.

In August the Shatford teams up with Emily Carr University of Art and Design instructor Vjeko Sager for an intensive drawing class from Aug. 6 to 11. Sager brings a wealth of knowledge, having taught 32 different courses at the prestigious university.

“This connection with Emily Carr is fantastic. What we are setting up is this relationship with this very fine, world famous university and be connected to them to potentially have more things come here,” said Shaak.

A call out to photographers is also underway for the 2013 edition of Penticton Inside-Out: The Complete Guide to Penticton, another fundraiser for the Okanagan School of the Arts and Shatford Centre. Prizes will be awarded to the winners submitting photos under a number of themes highlighting the city.

For more information on the Shatford Centre, how to sign up for classes, view upcoming events, workshops or more on the above mentioned programs visit www.shatfordcentre.com. The Shatford Centre is also looking for volunteers who want to be a creative community builder. There are a variety of opportunities from greeters to helping with art openings, film festivals, office work and more.