LETTERS: Helping to open the doors at the Penmar

It doesn’t make sense to stop now and lose it all.

The Penmar Community Arts Society presently has a campaign to “Open the Doors” at the Valley First Community Arts Centre (the new name for the old Penmar Theatre).

Have you noticed the newly-painted tulips on the hoardings at the work site? A spring-time message, signalling that things are happening here.

Society member-volunteers are helping to raise public awareness. They’re asking people to say a few words about how their group would use the new multi-purpose spaces that are now, except for a few finishing touches, ready to go.

The “Open the Doors” campaign includes crowd-funding (until April 1) plus an ongoing public information programme aimed at getting people involved with this wonderful new multi-purpose facility.

The project will make a significant addition to downtown revitalization. It’s a model of creative repurposing in the downtown core. And it will fill a need, expanding the roster of arts venues in our city.

Two of the theatres are operational, and a second phase is planned (more than doubling the capacity). A complete business plan has been prepared, reviewed and approved by financial experts.  A total of $450,000 has already been invested in the project. The theatres now have screens, projection equipment, fresh paint and more. The renovated spaces have been designed to accommodate a wide range of uses: dance, choral performances, workshops, lectures, recitals, practise space. And, of course, movies.

The society now needs to gather $165,000 for finishing-work: including installing the seats, putting in the bathroom cubicle dividers, plus a new energy-efficient concession area (serving all the usuals, plus local wine, beer and espresso coffees). Given the scale of work already done, this is a fairly modest final hurdle.

It doesn’t make sense to stop now and lose it all.

Once this final work is done, the doors can officially be opened. Once that happens, the Penmar Community Society can have access to some $100,000 of money that is already committed. And at that time, the society can also make further grant applications to enlarge its resource pool.

If you’d like to know more about the project, or about contributing (in kind or financially), you’ll find the details at www.penmar.ca. So much done and such a short distance to go.

And, how can you help? Send an email to info@penmar.ca, or make it a letter to the editor. There’s great momentum in arts supporting the arts, and Penticton is especially good at this. And right now in Penticton, we are on the verge of having a wonderful new space to grow in.

This is exciting!

Carol Munro

Okanagan Falls


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