After nearly ten years of operation at Penticton’s Shatford Centre, the Okanagan School of the Arts (OSA) is being evicted.
The arts school has until June 30 to vacate the premises.
In the year of the OSA’s 60th anniversary, the COVID-19 pandemic required the closure of the Shatford’s front doors and caused the OSA to lose rental and programming revenue, the school explained in a news release.
During the pandemic the school’s revenue stream was, “near evaporation.”
The OSA had previously suggested a partnership agreement with School District 67 so that the school could be maintained as a community resource. However after reviewing the proposal from OSA, they said the school district advised the lease would not be renewed, or extended.
“We are now facing the enormous task of emptying the building in a very compressed time-frame,” said the OSA’s executive director Kim Palmer. “The Shatford is filled with valuable and specialized equipment, including pianos, commercial kitchen appliances, and a wide variety of art supplies. At the moment, we don’t know where it will go.
“We’re also deeply concerned about the businesses and organizations who rely on the Shatford. We are hopeful that the Penticton arts scene will still find a way to thrive through these increasingly difficult times.”
President of the OSA Board of Directors, Keith MacIntyre, said the school will try to find ways to stay alive.
“This is a real disappointment for the OSA and for the community,” said MacIntyre. “Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the OSA was building momentum, collaborating with the local arts community, and looking forward to a bright and exciting future. Now, we’re trying to find a way to keep our programs and our organization alive.”
The OSA said they are welcoming any and all offers of assistance. Storage space for equipment, the school said, would be particularly valuable at this time.
The OSA is also welcoming new board members, “with a drive and a passion for the arts.”