Despite nearly two years of intermittent COVID-19 disruptions and restrictions, the Sunshine Coast Arts Council (SCAC) is going into 2022 in good financial shape and with an interesting lineup of exhibitions and with plans to expand and upgrade its meeting spaces.
“We have been very lucky to receive additional support through the cultural funding that came about as a result of the pandemic,” SCAC curator and director Sadira Rodrigues said at the organization’s annual general meeting on Dec. 11. “We have been able to take [a portion of] those funds and move them into future years so that we can start to build stability in our capacity and continue to commit to our programs.”
As pandemic protocols eased off slightly, the SCAC was able to remount the Hackett Park Arts & Crafts Fair in August and the Deck the Halls Christmas craft fair in November, both of which had to be cancelled in 2020. The monthly author-reading events in the council’s Literary Reading Series also came back in 2021, although only online on Zoom for now.
The SCAC was founded in 1966 as a volunteer-based non-profit organization with a mandate, as stated on its website, “to raise the profile of local artists and artisans... [and] to broaden the opportunities for the citizens, artists and artisans of the Sunshine Coast to enjoy and participate in local cultural activities.”
The SCAC’s primary location is the Arts Centre at Trail Ave. and Medusa St. in Sechelt, which houses exhibition spaces, a music studio, and an arts workshop area.
The meeting was told that three infrastructure projects should be well under way if not completed in 2022, including a replacement of the roof at the arts centre, an upgrade of its heating and air-conditioning system, and construction of a pergola on the property, thanks to a grant from Healthy Communities Canada. “[The pergola] will mean that we will have an outdoor area in the garden that we can use in this rainy climate,” Rodrigues said.
A separate SCAC work and display venue, called Weaving a Gathering Place and located off a small square beside the Bank of Montreal in Sechelt, is described as an intercultural and intergenerational weaving space for women and girls. “We’ve just received funding to be able to expand that,” said Rodrigues. “We’re going to be offering workshops and broader access in 2022.”
Among the month-long exhibitions planned for next year is a double show with Coast painters Cindy Riach and Agnete Newman; a show led by Coast Salish weaver and fibre artist Jessica Silvey; a show featuring the works of fibre artists Connie Chapman and Maureen Sugrue; a combined show with three Powell River artists, Scott Evans, Naoko Fukumaru, and Conrad Sarzynick; and another with Vancouver’s Rosemary Burden, Connie Sabo, and Debbie Tuepah.
Kicking off 2022 will be the Friends of the Gallery exhibition, starting Jan. 7.