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Ladysmith attracts additional investment in waterfront artist studio

Island Coastal Economic Trust announces $299,000 contribution to arts and heritage hub
The concept drawing for Ladysmith’s Waterfront Area Plan. (Town of Ladysmith image)

The Town of Ladysmith has received additional funding to help with the construction of a new artist studio on the waterfront.

The town, with the help of Stz’uminus elders and guidance from the arts and heritage hub design steering committee, is working on a collective project vision, ‘one heart plus one mind: itst uw’hw-nuts’ ul-wum (we are working as one),’ to build a studio for local artists to collaborate and socialize, as well as promote reconciliation.

The studio is set to be the beginning of creating the arts and heritage hub, which is a “key priority” for the waterfront area plan, and the studio will be the “catalyst” for implementing the plan, according to Chris Barfoot, the town’s director of parks, recreation, and culture.

“It’s exciting to anticipate the types of economic and social impacts this project will bring to the community,” said Barfoot. “Economically, it will help attract more visitors and help enhance our community’s profile as a desirable destination. Socially, it is an incredible way to showcase Indigenous and non-Indigenous collaboration and is a strong, physical symbol of respect and reconciliation.”

Coast Salish traditional design elements will be featured in the architectural design of the building, which is expected to include 3,000-square-foot interior and 1,500-square-foot exterior working spaces to house local artists such as Stz’uminus First Nation carvers. There will also be a shared, multi-use event space, along with several smaller studios designed to encourage visitor viewing and engagement with working artists.

READ ALSO: Youths exhibit creativity and ‘deep concepts’ at student art show in Ladysmith

“This project is very important to me, as an individual, and as a member of the community in helping to build better awareness of who we are as Stz’uminus people,” said elder George Harris in a news release. “People can do arts and crafts and have these works interpreted to them. These activities will help explain more about our histories to non-Indigenous people and build a stronger sense of pride in our people.”

The total project budget is $4.1 million, mostly funded with a $3.3-million grant the town received from the Investing Canada Infrastructure Program in 2020. The Island Coastal Economic Trust announced this week a contribution of $299,200.

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Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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