The fate of the Okanagan School of the Arts is based in the Shatford Centre. (Western News file photo)

New president, new outlook for Okanagan School of the Arts

Society looking to fill historic Penticton building with anchor tenants

The Okanagan School of the Arts Society has been working on moving forward with their strategic plan since receiving a grant from the City of Penticton in March to keep their doors open.

“Over the past year we have gone through a major transformation with a complete change of staff and several new board members … we have a plan that will allow us to fulfill our mandate as an arts society as well as make the most of the treasured building that we have been entrusted with over the last several years and into the future,” said Keith McIntyre, who was elected as the new president after Robin Robertson resigned from the board on May 16.

McIntyre said the OSA has 60 years of history and continues to evolve in the almost 100 year old building. That includes opening their doors to new tenants. For example, MacIntyre, CEO of Big Bear Software, has moved his company into one of the classrooms.

READ MORE: Penticton council grants funding for operations, utilities to Okanagan School of the Arts

“The Shatford Centre’s doors are open. We are looking for long term tenants and short term rentals. We are looking for small businesses that want to help grow the community in the Shatford Centre and help bring life to the building during the day,” said MacIntyre. “We also have a variety of rooms for short term rentals for the hour, part of the day, or the full day.”

The Anomaly House of Art, owned by Shae Ayris, is a tenant in the building that sells art supplies and offers art classes for kids and adults.

“We have an auditorium that seats almost 200 people and a galleria area that is wonderful. We also have a commercial kitchen available for rent that recently launched a successful new business in Penticton (Happy Fork) that has since moved out because they have done so well,” said McIntyre.

READ MORE: Video – New Penticton studio is a playground for creative types

The Idea Forge Maker Studio is also located in the Shatford Centre, allowing members access to equipment like a 3D printer, cameras, an industrial sewing machine and more.

“As we continue forward with this strategic plan and get a few anchor tenants we will be able to stabilize the cash flow. This is a very lightly-used building, if we can get people using it — up to 80 per cent — then we can execute on our programming as an arts school. We are looking for businesses that are not just there to rent space but want to be a part of the building and growing the culture and community of the building,” said McIntyre. “We want this to be a thriving society and the building to be a hub of community activity.”

He believes that if they have three or four businesses operating in the Shatford Centre it will cover the expenses, then they can concentrate on filling it with short-term rentals and events. That will be the job of the executive director, a position that they are now hiring for.

Georgia Krebs remains as OSA vice president, Karen Collins as secretary and Nathan Grant as treasurer and there are three board positions that are open.

McIntyre said they will be engaging with their members more in the coming months, gathering feedback from the community and looking for help from volunteers as well as looking forward to events such as Indigenous Days on June 21 and Will Schlackl’s Rock Skool Camp for kids for two weeks in July.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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