• Downtown Duncan

Art Is Here!

No one knew, when the organization formed in 2003, that the Arts Council of Ladysmith would become the arts powerhouse that it is now on Vancouver Island.

During the past 17 years, the Arts Council of Ladysmith has kept its vision alive by supporting member artists and supplying Ladysmith and the surrounding area with monthly exhibitions, newsletters, festivals, tours and events.

Tested by the Covid-19 Crisis in March, the Arts Council of Ladysmith rose to the occasion. Without batting an eye, and having already applied for and receiving a $212,000 digital grant from Canada Council for the Arts for digital strategy with other Vancouver Island art partners, the Arts Council of Ladysmith continued to support artists, exhibit their work, educate artists in new technology, and remain relevant as a strong artistic community. This effort confirms their mantra that Art is Here!

The Arts Council is supported by the Town of Ladysmith, the business community, and the wider community at large, as well as a visionary board of directors. Over 750 newsletters go out weekly, and three times a year 6,000 copies of an Art Magazine go out featuring local artists and art news. Via Facebook, Instagram, a YouTube channel, and videos, the Council also keeps membership and the public informed of available artistic experiences. The Council arranges for classes and artist talks as well. All this work is done by a team of passionate volunteers.

In 2006 a portion of the second floor of the historic Machine Shop was rented to the Arts Council by the Town of Ladysmith. Artists are not only creative but possess tenacity and vision when it comes to a project. With sleeves rolled up, buckets, brooms, and paintbrushes, the council of the day transformed what was an abandoned room into an amazing gallery. By 2018 almost 13,000 people found their way to the gallery, over 7,000 to events, 1,200 to opening nights, and countless people participated in many hours of classroom time supporting the arts.

In 2019 “the roof blew off the Machine Shop”, and the arts council was asked to vacate the building in September that year. It was a sad day but with that same determination and tenacity that it has demonstrated over the years, the Arts Council moved to online exhibitions, Facebook, and electronic newsletters while being open to the public at a new location.

The gallery is continually transforming into a space that is accessible, diverse and inviting to our community and visitors. As well, the Arts Council is an economic driver in Ladysmith and a significant part of the waterfront plan.

We are in exciting times and making lemons into lemonade! The Arts Council of Ladysmith is leading the way digitally, and soon art classes will be offered online. An on-line gift shop is ready to launch and the Council is selling art to the world, having shipped to Australia and across Canada with our online art exhibitions. Art is Here!

- Arts Council Of Ladysmith & District

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