Creative Community: Changes coming to Penticton arts scene

If change is inevitable, then why do we try so hard to avoid it?

Often one change initiates a cascade of other changes, creating the sense that everything is spinning out of control.

When Jane Shaak, the long-time executive director of the Okanagan School of the Arts and manager of the Shatford Centre, announced that she will be stepping down in September the board of directors knew that a tsunami of change had just been unleashed.

Jane has been not only the heart and soul of the enormous community effort to restore the Shatford Centre into a vibrant cultural hub but also the face of the Okanagan School of the Arts in its partnerships with many organizations. Simply replacing Jane is not an option because the hole she will leave behind is too big.

So what is an arts organization to do when faced with a major challenge? Embrace a period of creative disruption.

Art is not just dabbing paint on a canvas or applying a chisel to a piece of stone.

Think innovative ideas instead of paint and conversations with old and new partners as the canvas. What inspiring beauty can we create to support community needs?

Think of our core values and unshakeable truths as the stone with the need to develop an improved business plan for operations of the Shatford Centre as the chisel. The business realities need not take away from our core values. Rather they help us tell our story so we can better see and appreciate our stone/values/truths, including the small cracks and other imperfections that are part of this collective human experience.

This is the real contribution of the arts, culture and creativity sector to our communities. To inspire ourselves and others to embrace creativity and innovation in the face of change, uncertainty and risks.

So what is creative disruption?

A process of exploration to boldly face the big, hard questions. Rather than stand still as a tsunami of change washes over us, we are using our change in leadership as an opportunity to re-invigorate our vision, organization and partnerships.

The process of creative disruption will be guided by our core mission: we are committed to supporting our communities by serving as a catalyst for awakening and expressing creativity.

Over the next four months, the board of directors will be listening to many diverse voices in the community in order to define a new direction for the Okanagan School of the Arts and a new business plan for the Shatford Centre.

For more information or to participate in the creative dialogue, please contact Pat Field, president of the Okanagan School of the Arts at 250-770-7668 or

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