Local artist Pavel Barta begins the process of cutting and folding one of the mini cottages he designed for the Campbell River Arts Council’s latest fundraising initiative.

Arts Council miniaturizes in order to grow

Sale of mini cottages to help keep valuable community programming

The Campbell River Arts Council is hoping to add a little family fun to their latest round of fundraising.

The organization has commissioned local artist Pavel Barta to produce a model that people can cut out and fold up as a family project while supporting the council’s community-based initiatives.

Modelled on Barta’s recent creation of the Haig-Brown house for their annual festival, the Arts Council’s paper “cut and fold” project is of Sybil Andrews Cottage in Willow Point, for good reason.

“The Arts Council manages the Sybil Andrews Cottage on behalf of the city, and this is still the only property and building in the city that’s on the Heritage Registry,” says Arts Council executive director Ken Blackburn. “So, for the city, this is an important part of its heritage, and we take that very seriously. The more awareness we can bring to the cottage and Sybil’s story, the more the community will hopefully understand its value.”

But while managing that property and promoting the legacy of a renowned local artist are two of their major responsibilities, “we also need to raise funds for our various community-based programming,” Blackburn says. “We have the Art in the Hospital program, we have Music for Seniors, we have a head injury program, we work in partnership with youth outreach programming in town – which is of great benefit to youth that are in Family Services programming or youth that is at risk, for example. We also run projects like the community banner project and manage the Public Art Program in town.”

And in order to keep offering all of those community-based programs, Blackburn says, “we were thinking, ‘how could we have a fundraiser that would also help raise the profile of the cottage and of Sybil, and do it in a fun way, and a seasonal way?’”

So, for a minimum $10 donation to the Arts Council, community members can purchase a package of sheets to make their cut and fold model of the cottage – including instructions – or for $20 they can buy one that has been pre-assembled by volunteers.

But why does the Arts Council need to do fundraisers, anyway? Considering they manage the city’s only heritage site and receive grants from multiple funding bodies, shouldn’t they be all set financially?

“Well, all of the funding sources we have as a not-for-profit have expectations that you also raise money yourself,” Blackburn says. “No funder out there gives you 100 per cent of your needs. Anybody in the not-for-profit world knows that.

“Our combination of city funding, gaming funding, BC Arts Council funding, those are all contingent on the fact that they are partners with us, but as a partner, we are also responsible to bring our percentage to the table.”

They normally do that by selling memberships in the council, renting out the cottage and accepting donations to the cause, but this holiday season Blackburn is hoping these little cottages will be a well-received additional twist on their traditional fundraising efforts.

“It’s something that families can do together,” Blackburn says, “and I think most of us have some memory of doing these types of cut and fold things – whether they were doll houses or whatever – we all remember those types of things from our youth, so there’s a nostalgic aspect to it, as well.

“The idea of people being able to have a mini version of the cottage isn’t ultimately the point,” Blackburn says. “It’s a vehicle by which people can support community-based programming, but it’s done in a way that is fun, family-oriented, heritage based – all the things that we try to provide here at the Arts Council.”

The mini cottages – and the sheets to cut and fold your own – will be available at the Arts Council office (in the actual, full-size cottage in Willow Point) and the Museum at Campbell River, as well as various other locations around town.

For more information or to get involved with the mini cottage fundraiser contact Blackburn at 250-923-0213 or arts.council@crarts.ca