Work on a new arts centre for Hornby Island is expected to begin this month.
The Hornby Island Arts Council has received the go-ahead to start the purpose-built facility in January. The plan is to have the new facility open by this time next year to provide a space for exhibitions, workshops, artist residencies, performances and public gatherings for a community in which many people work in the arts. Work was slated to begin in 2020, but as with so many community projects last year, things were delayed because of the pandemic.
The arts council and community have worked with architect D’Arcy Jones and his team on the design for the site. Jones and his firm are based out of Vancouver. D’Arcy Jones Architects has won awards from the Architectural Institute of British Columbia, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts, among others, while the firm’s work has been featured in Architectural Record, Dwell, Hauser and Canadian Architect.
“Over the years I noticed that the most unique and artful buildings on Hornby Island have interior spaces that are grounded and special,” Jones said in a recent news release about the project. “Continuing this tradition, the new arts centre has a very simple exterior, so that more effort could be spent building warm and timeless interior spaces. This will make the project feel both familiar and new.”
Planning for the project has taken place over many years. The community had provided seed funding of $175,000, through the auction of works of Hornby Island artists, along with significant private donations. From the seed funding in 2019, over that year the arts council rounded up more than $1 million. The project has received matching funding from Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation, the BC Arts Council, Island Coastal Economic Trust, a Community Works Fund grant from the Comox Valley Regional District, the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada’s Canadian Heritage Cultural Spaces Fund.
“With the building permit now in place and the tree removal permit pending, we should be breaking ground in January,” Hornby Island Arts Council president Louise McMurray said in the news release. “The pandemic has had a serious impact on the cost of construction and labour, so while we feel fortunate to have our base budget secure, we know we will need to continue to look for additional funds to put in the special touches we are hoping for.”
While current pandemic regulations will prevent any public groundbreaking ceremony, the Hornby Island Arts Council will be updating the public as the project progresses through the course of this year.
“With so many setbacks facing the arts and artists right now, with so many unknowns, we feel very fortunate to have this project to keep us focused and grounded,” council executive director Andrew Mark added.
The Hornby Island Arts Council began in 1998 and is a registered charity. For more information, see www.hornbyarts.com