Rossland Arts Community aims for home in historic Drill Hall

By Contributor
May 18th, 2021

Artists and supporters of the arts will soon have a new collective space for the community to learn, connect, and create art together in Rossland.

The Rossland Arts Centre Society has submitted an application to lease the historic Drill Hall building on the corner of Monte Christo Street and 1st Avenue. The application is now in process with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and is expected to take up to 10 months before the group will get the keys.

The new Rossland Arts Centre will be home to studio spaces, shared art making space, class space, and exhibition space for visual and performing arts.

“We are excited to have reached this milestone in creating an Arts Centre for Rossland,” said Karina Farr, Board Chair for the Rossland Arts Centre Society.

“We have been working quietly behind the scenes for three years to ensure this is a viable project before submitting an application for the building and going public with our plans. While there are still several steps to complete before we can open our doors, we are excited to see our vision for an Art Centre in Rossland come alive.”.”

“We look forward to now being able to work with artists and arts supporters to further shape and refine the vision for the Arts Centre into a space that best meets the community’s needs,” said Farr.

The Rossland Arts Centre Society was created by a group of Rossland artists and art supporters, with a shared vision for a community art space. The society received encouragement to pursue this project from local artists, the Rossland Council for Arts and Culture (RCAC), and Trail & District Arts Council. They have also received funding from the Columbia Basin Trust and the City of Rossland to complete the background studies and planning for this project.

To kick-off fundraising, local artist Stephanie Gauvin will be hosting an online Paint Night in the next month for this exciting community initiative. Details will be released on the new webpage at www.rosslandartscentre.com, as well as Facebook and Instagram.

The next steps for the Arts Centre include confirming the building lease through the application process, a consultation with the community on priority uses, and planning and funding the building renovations.

“The people of Rossland will greatly benefit from having an Art Centre, a common hub where Visual Arts can connect the community,” said Gauvin. “Art is the language of human emotion and connection; art is for everyone.”

The Arts Matters public consultation work and Arts Plan led by the RCAC in the fall 2019 identified a community desire and need for a central space for the arts in Rossland.

Building on this work, the Rossland Arts Centre Society envisions a community art space where people of all ages and abilities can collaborate, learn, share, and create art.

“An Arts Centre will provide many opportunities to grow and support artists in Rossland,” said Theshini Naicker, Board Chair of the RCAC. “We were pleased to see this new society form and pursue this project, and support their efforts to creating a community arts space in Rossland.”

The Drill Hall, also known as the McLean Annex, is currently owned by School District 20 who are in the process of returning the building to the province. Returning this property has been in SD20’s long range plan since 2018 when the building was deemed surplus.

Artists and arts supporters interested in knowing more can visit the webpage and join the mailing list at www.rosslandartscentre.com. Inquiries can be sent to RosslandArtsCentre@gmail.com.

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