Sherry BezansonSpecial to the chronicle
Ladysmith Arts Council and Waterfront Gallery members and visitors, especially those who have trouble with stairs, will now be able to push an elevator button to get to the second floor.
That milestone will be celebrated Nov. 6 at the LAC’s office and gallery, located at 610 Oyster Bay Drive.
“The Elevator Project has successfully been completed and is up and running,” said an Oct. 15 LAC media release.
It’s an accomplishment two years in the making. A contribution of $500 dollars from art benefactor and gallery appreciator Pamela Fairchild in 2013 launched the project.
“Ms. Fairchild, who has since relocated to Montreal to be close to family, lit a fire in the minds of the board of directors with the comment that she, unfortunately, was unable to bring her disabled husband upstairs to see the art shows,” the release said.
“From that moment on, heaven and earth was moved to create a gallery that was accessible to all in the community.”
Total costs for the Elevator Project came to $80,000.
Half that came from an Employment and Social Development Canada grant.
Other contributors included: The Town of Ladysmith, BC Rehabilitation, renowned local artists Grant Leier and Nixie Barton, Ladysmith Credit Union, Chemainus Sketch Group, and Ladysmith Lions Club.
Numerous donations were also made by LAC members and gallery visitors.
“The major visionary and activist behind the Elevator Project was Kathy Holmes, President of the Ladysmith Arts Council.” the release said.
“Ms. Holmes started the Pear Project as a fundraiser in 2013 with a goal to making $1000 to go toward the Elevator Project.” She reached that $1000 goal nearly a year ago after making and selling 100 handmade ceramic pears.
Other small arts sales and community fund-raisers – like the Cupcake paintings and the Davy Jones Locker in Oct. 2014 – added to the total.
Holmes had a special word of thanks for contractor Brian Childs & Company and the subcontractors who worked on the project.
“They were all a joy to work with – reliable, hard-working and they embraced the vision and knew it was a community project with meaning,” she said.
As well as improving access, the Elevator Project enhanced the entrance to the gallery. A designated gift-shop area, and a student gallery are located in the downstairs hallway.
“So whether you are taking the elevator, or walking up, there is a beautiful and lively new updated look,” Holmes said.
The public is invited to join the Nov. 6 celebration and dedication of the elevator from 2-5 p.m. Tea and refreshments will be served; elevators rides will be free.