Arts Facility Update Presentation

  • Wednesday, November 20, 2019
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Municipal Hall Atrium – 750 17th Street, West Vancouver

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From WVCAC's President, David Morton

At our AGM on October 17, I reported that the past year has been an operational success. Support remains strong for our gallery offerings, our classical and jazz concert series, and our community engagement events. Our membership numbers are solid. Our members continue to donate generously. We appreciate all of your support.

While in many ways our future is bright and promising, there remains a cloud of uncertainty regarding the proposed redevelopment of the waterfront. The key element, for us, is the District's pending intention to demolish the Silk Purse. We have sought and received assurance that the Silk Purse will remain intact until a new, dedicated building is ready for us to move into. The siting and character of this building is now in issue.

The District has struck two committees related to arts and culture in West Vancouver. One is the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee of which our board member and Vice President Ann Frost is a member. The District completed a five-year Arts & Culture Strategy in June 2018. The other is the Arts Facilities Advisory Committee of which our board member Chris Stringer is a member.

Two proposals for new arts facilities are being debated – a two-facility option (one a dedicated art museum; one a community arts centre); and a one-facility option (in which both functions are combined). These facilities are intended to provide homes for the West Vancouver Art Museum, ourselves, the North Shore Artists Guild, as well as several other arts and cultural groups.

Possible sites for the facilities have now been identified, and are currently under review. A recommendation will go to council for approval in January 2020.

On June 24, the WVCAC made a presentation to District Council supporting the two-facility option, and urging Council to consider the Silk Purse site (combined with the Music Box site next door) as the location for one of the new facilities. We have since been informed that, for a variety of reasons, this site will not be considered.

On October 2, we made a second presentation, this one to the Arts Facilities Advisory Committee. Our objective was to lobby for continuity of the ambience of the waterfront arts experience currently provided by WVCAC at the Silk Purse. Here is how we phrased it:

"The Silk Purse is a unique arts and cultural space that combines the visual arts with the performing arts, not in a plain wrapper, but in a charming, waterfront pavilion. It is a place where live music can be experienced from a seat with a view, or from a log on the beach, or a bench on the sea walk, or just lying on the grass in the park ...

"Although we understand that plans may not favour the Silk Purse’s rehabilitation or retention, our plea is simply that the inspiring programming experience that takes place at the Silk Purse be permitted to continue in its present form."

On Wednesday, November 20, the Arts Facilities Advisory Committee will be updating the public on its findings. We understand there will be an opportunity to hear comments and questions. Our interests will be best served if we turn out in force. Can we count on your attendance?

David Morton, President
West Vancouver Community Arts Council



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