The provincial government is providing $169,403 to the Gabriola Arts Council (GAC) to create two new job creation partnerships. The projects will provide skills training and paid work experience to four Gabriola Island residents, resulting in a renovated community cultural centre and a year’s worth of arts and culture programming. The funding arrives via the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, through the Job Creation Partnerships stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program
The first of the two partnerships will provide up to 43 weeks of work experience and skills training for three people in renovation and construction, including carpentry, plumbing, electrical, landscaping and project management. The participants will work alongside local professionals to update and renovate the 88-year-old Gabriola Arts & Heritage Centre, preserving a significant piece of Gabriola history and providing a high-quality, functional and accessible cultural space for the community. Participants will also install and complete a hand-built log structure, donated by Gabriola’s Island School for Building Arts, and destined to be the new administrative office for the GAC.
The second partnership with GAC will provide up to 50 weeks of training and work experience to one individual in event planning, marketing and media, budgeting, communications and coordination of volunteers. The participant will assist in developing a year-long program of arts and culture events in celebration of GAC’s 20th anniversary in 2017. Programming will target all ages and support the local economy by drawing locals and tourists to participate in workshops, performances and other special events reflecting the diverse cultural history and active arts community of the island.
Michelle Benjamin, executive director of GAC, looks forward to the improvements the additional funding will bring to the organization as well as to the "Isle of the Arts" itself. "This is an incredible opportunity for GAC, and is especially exciting as we launch into our year of 20th anniversary celebrations," Benjamin told the Alliance. "The completion of this building project — it’s a full-on community project, supported by generous donations and extensive volunteer engagement — will be a great legacy for everyone who’s contributed over the years: GAC founders, previous staff and board members, the generous women at the Women’s Institute who donated the property to GAC, public and private funders, and of course, the entire community of artists and art supporters."
In addition to its three annual art events—Isle of the Arts Festival, Gabriola Theatre Festival, and Thanksgiving Tour and Festival—GAC also manages a year-round Healing Power of Arts program, runs arts-related programs in the island's elementary school, and collaborates regularly with local non-profits and community groups.
Learn more about the Gabriola Arts Council at artsgabriola.ca.