Artists co-op appeals to Kimberley Council

Request for funding, including building purchase sent to committee

A newly formed group, the Howard Street Artist Cooperative, approached Kimberley City Council this week with a request for funding.

Representing the cooperative was Ryan Doggart. The group is operating out of the former medical clinic building on Howard Street and they have a vision of the entire space being used as a working studio with retail space, room for music lessons, a recording studio and more.

“We don’t want to be a gallery, but a space where artists can work,” he said.

Unfortunately, Doggart told Council, before many of those plans can come to fruition, the building must be brought up to code, something the owner cannot afford at this time.

The group is interested in seeing how the City feels about buying the building in return for 80 per cent shares in the co-op. The price on that would be $275,000.

He said he realized that it was asking a lot at this particular time, but that the whole idea might as well be presented.

Council listened with interest, though there didn’t appear to be any eagerness for the building purchase.

“It’s an interesting concept,” said Mayor Ron McRae. “I applaud you for exploring it, but purchasing the building? That would require some level of conversation.”

Coun. Bev Middlebrook asked Doggert if his group had approached other arts organizations such as the Marysville Artisans or the Kimberley Arts Council/Centre 64.

Doggert said they had not yet approached the Centre 64 Board, though they intended to, and the Marysville Artisans had been contacted but hadn’t shown much interest.

Council referred the matter to the Administration Committee for recommendations.