HORNBY ISLAND, B.C. – The Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) is investing $175,000 in support of a Hornby Island Arts Council project to establish a permanent arts facility.

According to a release from the Trust, the facility will help enhance Hornby Island’s arts sector while creating year-round economic and cultural opportunities for the island’s residents, businesses and visitors.

The release notes that the community has evolved into a hub for artists, and arts-related economic activity is closely tied to the Island’s sense of identity.

Working in arts and culture is a primary source of income for 40 percent of Hornby Island residents, and visitors consider Hornby’s artist and artisan works to be a significant draw.

“As people tell us, we are an arts centered community with no arts centre,” said Hornby Island Arts Council executive director Andrew Mark.

“This facility will be a heart and home for arts, where everyone is welcome. In particular, it will help island artists gain greater visibility and improve their financial security, grow new and existing arts-related businesses, and contribute to Hornby’s identity as a destination for the arts.”

The proposed Hornby Island Arts Centre will be located in the heart of the community’s cultural hub, adjacent to the community hall, farmers’ market and other health, social and recreation facilities.

The 2,900 square foot facility will marry unique design features with multi-use functionality, serving diverse user groups. The centre will be a customizable exhibition space, capable of hosting a range of activities from traditional gallery shows to workshops, educational events, concerts, and more.

“This is a project with a long history and wide community support,” Mark added. “With this investment from ICET matching the private funds raised by the community, we’re now in the final stages of fundraising to build the Centre,” added Mark.

ICET chair Josie Osborne said that funding for the project was approved through ICET’s Economic Infrastructure and Innovation Program, designed to support sustainable economic diversification.

“We look for projects like this one that build on community strengths,” Osborne said. “Hornby has a well-earned reputation for the arts, and this new facility will enable the community to host new events, festivals, workshops and attract visiting artists and exhibitors to create a more sustainable year-round economy.”

Economic projections prepared by ICET’s economist estimate that three to five years post-completion, the $1.2 million centre will generate an annual spending impact of $2.1 million, and support the creation of more than 20 permanent local jobs.

Construction of the facility is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2019, with completion and opening in 2020.