Arts funding helps paint picture of new library/museum

Trail Historical Society, VISAC and the Trail and District Community Arts Council receive boost from ArtsVest

Greater Trail residents dreaming of a new library/museum will soon have some tangible plans to eyeball.

The Trail Historical Society has received $1,000 from artsVest, a matching incentive and sponsorship training program, and intends to direct the awarded funds to producing library/museum project visuals and literature for public information sessions held in the coming months.

The public will ultimately decide whether the facility is worth the investment later through referendum in November during the municipal election.

“A new facility of this nature (an integrated museum/archives and library) has been the focus of our efforts for many years now,” said Sarah Benson, director of Trail Museum and Archives.

“It is an extremely exciting project that will allow for increased and enhanced programming by both the library and the museum, which is key to engaging our visitors.”

The society has teamed up with the City of Trail and the Trail and District Public Library and are currently working with Boni-Maddison Architects from Vancouver to develop conceptual plans for the new facility slated for the former Eagles property at the south end of downtown.

Once the team develops construction and operating budgets for the project, the public consultation process will begin.

The Trail Historical Society is not the only local non-profit to qualify for funding. VISAC Gallery has secured $2,500, money slated for more art shows and classes geared toward youth, according to executive director Mark Enns.

“We are doing an afternoon pottery class on Mondays with Sanctuary and trying to start to art classes for children that are home schooled,” he said.

“Our hopes are that this funding will allow these programs to continue and introduce more young people to their creative sides.”

The Trail and District Community Arts Council took home the largest contribution of $6,000 from artsVest.

Arts council’s Betty Seinen said the organization is also looking to its younger audience with discussion of a children’s series, which is just one of the innovative programs in the works.

The funding will also allow the arts council to invest in its existing community offerings, she added.

“If you get $12,000 in a year, because you’ve gotten $6,000 in grants and then $6,000 matching, that’s quite a whack of money,” she said.

“That gives you a lot of room for programming and allows you to take some risks and try new things.”

The three Trail organizations were among 82 across the province to be approved under the national program, which is designed to stimulate business sponsorship and corporate engagement in arts and culture. The recipients are now tasked with going out into the community and securing matching funds.

“The whole idea is to try to help arts organizations have a bit more of something that will sweeten the pot when they approach business sponsors, just to encourage business to support the arts,” explained Kathleen Speakman, artsVest B.C. program coordinator.

One of the many artsVest workshops across the province held in Castlegar helped these non-profits prepare for this venture by coaching participants on how to create a pitch and by taking them through the steps of activating their volunteers and networks to cultivate relationships.