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Hope Arts Gallery and Arts Machine ready to welcome more patrons

The Arts Gallery and Machine has a lot in store, says the new administrator for the Arts Council
Darlene Barnett is eager to see more people coming through the doors at the Hope Art Gallery and Art Machine. (Pattie Desjardins/Hope Standard)

Calling all art lovers!

The Hope and District Arts Council has a lot in store this fall, and they would love to see more people pop through their doors.

A lot has been happening at the Hope Art Gallery and the Hope Art Machine. The gallery kitchen and restrooms have gotten new renovations; a patio has been installed between the gallery and Machine space; landscaping is scheduled for the fall; and there’s even been a slew of art classes and open studios taking place in the Art Machine. Truly, it’s a whirlwind of current and upcoming events that any art enthusiast can get excited about. Which the council hopes will entice people to check them out.

“It’s interesting to see what local artists are doing. Some of the art here is amazing and I had no idea about it until I started working here,” says Darlene Barnett, the new administrator for the council. “We have classes scheduled for August and September. And we hope that people will want to come in and get a chance to see what’s in the gallery.”

Formed in 2005, the council, according to their site, is dedicated to providing “affordable, accessible arts, and cultural programming to the community and surrounding area.” Currently the custodians of the 24-year-old art gallery and the Art Machine — which are two studios where painting and pottery classes take place —the council is a strong fixture of Hope who has continued to provide the community with art exhibitions, concerts, and a variety of programs to satisfy and nurture the art lover within.

Presently, instructed classes are scheduled for August and September. Studio A has beginner painting classes, acrylic classes, watercolour classes, smartphone photography classes, and art-themed classes for children—all who have skilled instructors behind the helm. In Studio B, there are two open studio days for ceramists to use the in-house kiln and tools, as well as a class for pottery beginners—again with an expert ceramist instructing.

Despite the upcoming programs, events, and renovations, Barnett still worries about gaining back the public engagement that was present before COVID-19. For starters, due to the difficulties of the pandemic, drop-ins and class sizes have been significantly reduced and participants now have to inquire beforehand to ensure that space is available in classes. COVID-19 protocols at the studios are still in place but, even so, instructors have been reluctant to offer classes again.

“Instructors don’t want to teach while [COVID-19] is still around. And I can understand that,” says Barnett. “A lot of seniors attend our classes. And some of the instructors are older themselves. So we can’t really blame them. In that regard, it’s been a challenge but we’ve been chugging away at it as best as we can.”

That being said, Barnett said if more people expressed interest some of the available classes might go on for longer. And she’s currently in talks with a few other artists with the hope that they might be able to offer classes in wire basket weaving, hand looming, and even wood turning.

The first upcoming event for the gallery is an Open House on Aug. 27. People are invited to look at the renovations, tour the facilities, and see the backroom featuring artwork from artists all over Hope and the Lower Mainland. There will also be a food truck so patrons don’t have to worry about refreshments.

“Art, to me, is an expression of one’s self. Until you see [art], you might not realize that it’s for you too…It doesn’t cost anything to visit. And the gallery gives people an opportunity to see what’s here and inspire them to try new things [in art].”

READ MORE: Pottery pro looks forward to Hope Art Crawl


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Kemone Moodley

About the Author: Kemone Moodley

I began working with the Hope Standard on August 2022.
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