The arts and culture scene in Gold River, Tsa’xana and Nootka Sound is about to get a boost thanks to the newly incorporated Gold River, Nootka Sound Society for the Arts.
The society has been in the works for almost a year, with founders Sunny Tee, John Amos, Brenda Patrick, Neil Lawrence, Steve Wray and Keith Broad first meeting to talk about the fledgling idea back in August, 2021. The society was incorporated a month later, and the society has been working to build themselves up and get into a position to support the arts in the area ever since.
”There’s all kinds of different arts activities that we can get involved with,” said Broad, who is also president. “It’s just a matter of finding those things that will convince people to brave the highway between Campbell and us and come here and find something hopefully different and interesting.”
The area is home to at least 59 artists and artisans, according to the latest count the society has done, and Broad says the goal is to tap into that wealth of skill and talent to help bring economic and cultural opportunities to the region.
“We’re looking at music festivals, performance festivals, arts markets,” Broad said. “We’ve got so much to offer here. Everybody in B.C.’s got mountains, rivers, lakes and streams, and glaciers. If you could come up with an idea of how to use these things. We thought that we’ve got Friendly Cove and the Uchuck…What if we had a known big name artist that we could cajole into coming to Gold River for a long weekend and put on an arts adventure course? A professional artist teaching 10 or 12 people setting up their easels on the deck of the Uchuck on the way out Friendly Cove and back how to paint the scenery, the waters and so on.”
Broad is hoping that the new society helps bring some economic growth to the community, which has historically relied on extractive industries and has weathered the booms and busts that go along with that kind of economy.
“I thought ‘nobody hates art.’ You may dislike some forms of art, but generally speaking the arts is a welcome thing in most peoples homes and lives. So let’s try and build a beautiful thing around arts,” he said. “Chemainus and a bunch of other towns are doing their public art with their murals all over town and it attracts people to their town and they spend money in restaurants and stuff. That’s what I’m thinking: trying to attract a different kind of tourist.”
To help with their launch, the society will be hosting an art show and silent auction during Gold River Days on Aug. 27 and 28. They will also be holding a logo contest in September and October, where the winner will receive $100 and a three-year paid membership to the society.
Those who want to be members of the society, either as artists or patrons of the arts, can contact Broad at email@example.com.