At the end of this month, Linda Bachman will close the door to her gallery one last time, marking a loss of display space for local artists.
For 2 ½ years Bachman has run the Portico Gallery on Pemberton Avenue. The gallery represents approximately 50 artists — 80 per cent of them local. When Diamond Head Medical Clinic moved to the new Cornerstone Building, Bachman was informed the building that houses her gallery was for sale. And Bachman can’t afford to relocate.
“It will be missed,” she said of the gallery.
Squamish has a talented arts community, but few places to showcase their work, Bachman said. The town needs a central arts hub to display pieces and field inquires, she said, noting that visitors often came to her gallery with questions.
“We actually searched for a lot of pieces for clients,” she added.
Down the road, Bachman said she would like to see a gallery pair with a facility such as a museum. Both are destinations and promote tourism, while also backing the community’s cultural growth. The arts also need to be better incorporated into the town’s many events, Bachman said.
There’s always a need for more space for artists to display their work, Squamish Arts Council (SAC) president Doug Hackett said. Besides the SAC building in the O’Siyam Pavilion Park, there is wall space at the Artisan Building and the Foyer Gallery in the Squamish Public Library. Various cafés and businesses also showcase artwork, Hackett said.
The SAC building is operated by volunteers, which makes it difficult to maintain consistent hours, he noted.
“We don’t have someone fulltime,” Hackett said.
SAC runs as an advocacy group for all arts — including performing arts and music. Its job is to push for public policies that support the arts, Hackett said. On Tuesday, Sept. 24, SAC is making a presentation to the District of Squamish regarding the arts community and its integration.
Squamish hasn’t reached the critical mass it needs to support art galleries such as Portico, Coun. Patricia Heintzman said.
“Someday I would like to see some sort of community arts centre in the downtown area,” she said, noting that the Squamish Oceanfront plan includes a performance theatre. “We just are not quite there yet.”
The arts sometimes get overlooked in a town known for its outdoor recreation, Heintzman said. The municipality’s downtown initiatives, which includes last Saturday’s movie at Pavilion Park, aim to establish the community’s core as a cultural hub. But there’s only so much government can do, Heintzman said.
While the Portico Gallery will soon be gone, Bachman will maintain art displays at local businesses throughout the community.
“The art still lives on,” she said.