Changing Times for the Art House


The Arts Council is moving toward creating a “Gallery Shop”

One of Kathleen Booth's collages

The Bella Coola Valley Arts Council has adopted a vision to revitalize the Art House in Hagensborg as a more active showcase for local art and performances as it becomes more financially viable.

At a recent meeting, a sizable group of artists and art supporters agreed unanimously to restructure the management of the Art House to keep it from shutting down this fall.   Since funding began to diminish several years ago, the Council has struggled to keep the venue open, and it appeared the space might have to close because of the costs to keep the building heated and open throughout the winter months.

However, thanks largely to the support of the Williams Lake and District Credit Union, the Art House, a former teacher residence generously provided by School District #49, has survived the winter of 2013, and the Council gratefully acknowledges this support as well as the volunteer efforts of local painter Lucille Thompson – who has kept the doors open two days a week.

Now the Council is moving toward creating a “Gallery Shop” (something like the Station House Gallery in Williams Lake or Parkside Gallery in 100 Mile House) that will offer for sale a greater variety of items including a range of more affordable art and crafts. The move will also enable the Council to keep the Art House open for longer and more regular hours.

The Council has been at work scheduling frequent shows and events, beginning with shows in February and March. The 2013 season opened with a February show of paintings and stained glass work by local artists Kathleen Booth and Helga Kaiser.  In this show, Kathleen, operator of Bella Coola Wild Craft and Arts Council President, displayed a dozen or so of her painted collages in which magazine images are amalgamated to create a story, a medium she took up some 25 years ago.

Among these works, her personal favourite entitled “The Journey” attempts to capture the essence of “the long journeys we all take,” says Kathleen – “journeys that come down to the basics of life: food, water, shelter, and company.”

Helga’s display of some 20 stained glass works included a number of lamps and lanterns, a window panel and a number of hanging “suncatchers” – primarily done in a copper foil process that makes the pieces stronger and more light-weight than the pulled lead channels that she often employs for edging.

Helga began working with stained glass more than 30 years ago when she happened upon a book on the subject lying in the Home Ec room at SAMS where she was working.  Light, shining through multi-coloured glass “warms the room” and “enhances the space,” says Helga. Since she picked up that book, she adds, “I have never looked back.”

March saw a show of more than 60 photos from all over the planet taken by Valley photographer Joan Cole. For those who missed Joan’s “Shadow and Light” show, it is still possible to see many of the photographs still on display as well as works by Helga and Kathleen from the February show. However, those wishing to visit the Art House should note that the space is still on limited winter hours (only Monday and Tuesday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) Visits by appointment can be arranged at other times by phoning the Council Secretary at 982-2735.