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Studio, gallery space on offer for New West artists

Arts Council of New Westminster hopes to create a working artist collective by offering affordable space at the Gallery at Queen's Park

The Arts Council of New Westminster wants to help create a working artist collective in the city.

The arts council makes its home in Centennial Lodge, with the Gallery at Queen’s Park on the upper floor and a smaller studio space below. Now it’s opening up both spaces for artists to use.

“How we are using the Gallery at Queen’s Park and the Lower Studio within Centennial Lodge is pivoting,” said Laura Grady, program manager with the arts council, in a press release. “We want this space to express the needs of artists in our community and to be used in a way that reflects our goal of fostering a viable and vibrant presence for artists in our city.”

Two studio spaces will be available on the lower level, and up to four exhibition spaces will be available for artists and artisans on the main floor.

Each of the spaces includes designated storage, shelf space, table and chairs, and access to sink, fridge, Wi-Fi and electrical outlets – at an affordable rent.

The offer comes at a time of challenge for many artists, with the COVID-19 pandemic having created upheaval in the cultural community across the country.

In New West, artists have faced an extra challenge with the closure of 100 Braid Street Studios, which housed working artists’ studios and gallery space and had become a hub for the city’s arts community. The venue, in the old B.C. Distillery building in Sapperton, shut down in November to make way for long-planned redevelopment of the site.

“With the closing of 100 Braid Street Studios, the opportunity to open our space to the artist community is something we are excited about,” Grady said. “We want this space to be a hub for art activity and a place where artists can thrive and connect.”

With the open concept space, the arts council is hoping artists will be able to create community and collaboration while working – and they’re quick to note that the serene Queen’s Park setting is also a draw.

Artists interested in learning more can email Laura Grady at programs@acnw.ca.