The public is getting a long-awaited preview of the Shatford Building in operation in it’s new role as an entrepreneurial arts centre during the Magnify~Sense! Engaging with Creative Spirit festival planned for next week.
Starting on Feb. 21 and running through the 26, organizers have setup a full schedule of artists and other creative people to deliver a range of classes in the heritage building, which is in the late stages of a renovation process.
The week-long festival is one of 49 Spirit festivals being held across the province, funded by the province through the Assembly of the BC Arts Councils, part of celebrating the Olympic legacy.
“It’s perfect for the Shatford, this is the kick off for the Shatford,” said Jane Shaak of the Shatford Centre transition team. “It’s this lovely opportunity to invite the community in, to bring a lot of artists and artisans together to celebrate creativity together.”
Shaak describes it as a chance for people to learn about the Shatford and classes, adding that it’s also good for the facilitators because they can be exposed to larger numbers of people.
While Shaak styles the event as a kickoff, the operational opening of the building is still some time away. Samarpan Faasse, another member, said they are aiming for April 1.
“We still have opportunities for proposals to come forward for how people might see themselves in some of the spaces that we are preparing,” said Faasse.
“As far as a functional building that is the date we are aiming for. In the interim, we have courses on offer for spring break and we will be planning OSA summer programming.”
In the meantime, the Spirit Festival gives people a chance to see how the building might be used.
“We have structured it in a way that it is accessible to as many different people as possible. In addition to the different types of creative arts that we are offering, we are offering them at different times of the day,” said Faasse. “We also have drop-ins specifically for seniors, children and teens, all free, on the Friday. And then again on Saturday for the entire family. So bring your children and grandma and grandpa and play around at a whole potpourri of creative experiences.”
The range of creative activities on offer is wide, starting with drumming classes from Bobby Bovenzi, script and song writing, dance, culinary arts and painting. The classes start Monday morning, with opening festivities from 6 to 8 p.m.
Then, after a week of celebration and classes, the festival winds up Saturday with the Culinary Theatre Finale, described as a “collaborative and innovative celebration with delicious local foods, performance and so much more.”
“The first year at the Shatford will be the most important as we take this building that has been kind of dormant and bring it back into vitality,” said Shaak. “It needs a lot of synergies and it needs revenues and it needs things coming together.”