Ladysmith Arts Council President Kathy Holmes thanked the Town of Ladysmith for all its support during 2015, and offered a rundown of the LAC’s activities, events and programs over the year.
The council is located in city-owned space in the Expo Building at 610 Oyster Bay Road. “We want to thank the town for the space and for letting us bring joy to the community,” Holmes said.
Thanks to the LAC the arts in Ladysmith are generating not only cultural benefits for the community, but adding to a vibrant economy. Holmes noted that the arts, culture and heritage in Canada accounted for 3.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010.
Locally the 15 member LAC Board has overseen 17 shows; delivery of arts education classes, which are often filled to capacity; delivery of youth classes, which are also well attended; art orientation bus tours; and a class for people with ‘different abilities.’
Holmes let councillors in on the new motto of the Ladysmith Arts Council, “Art is here to stay; this is your gallery.”
She said 8,400 people visited the LAC’s Waterfront Gallery over the year, 2,000 more than last year, and that membership in the LAC stands at about 500.
One of the highlights of the year was Arts on the Avenue and Light up the Night events, which took place Aug. 23 and drew 6,000 people to view works by more than 50 artists.
Holmes said the successes of 2015 will be built on in the coming year.
“Our goal going into 2016 is to make Ladysmith the hub of art on Vancouver Island,” she said.
One of the biggest accomplishments of the LAC in 2015 was raising funds to have an elevator installed at the Waterfront Gallery and LAC offices.
“We raised $86,000 for an elevator,” Holmes said, noting that everyone involved with the project was ‘phenomenal.’ “The people we worked with were truly amazing,” she said.
Coun. Rob Hutchins said it’s the LAC Board and volunteers who deserve credit for the Arts Council’s successes. “Why are you saying thank you?” he asked. “Because it’s us who should be saying thank you.”
After the LAC presentation he moved, and council passed a resolution that Mayor Aaron Stone attend the Jan. 2 meeting of the LAC to convey Council’s thanks for the work the Arts Council is doing.