The fate of the Okanagan School of the Arts, based in the Shatford Centre, is in the hands of its members, who will gather for a special meeting on March 24. (Mark Brett - Western News)

The fate of the Okanagan School of the Arts, based in the Shatford Centre, is in the hands of its members, who will gather for a special meeting on March 24. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Penticton’s Okanagan School of the Arts seems to be back on track

OSA presented to Penticton city council after receiving a $47,000 grant from the city in Spring 2019

It seems the Okanagan School of the Arts (OSA) has turned over a new leaf after a promising update to Penticton city council on Nov. 5.

After the news broke in February 2019 that the school may cease operations due to financial woes, the community quickly rallied around the school, which has been running for 60 years and is now located within the Shatford Centre at 760 Main St. In March 2019, council voted to grant the OSA $47,000 to waive its summer utility fees and address outstanding operational costs on the condition that a report be provided back to staff including the organization’s business plan,

“Over the summer we hired Kim Palmer (executive director of OSA), installed a new security system and secured two other tenants to occupy classrooms upstairs and stabilize cash flow. After our March members’ meeting, we presented our budget which included the city grant from the period of April to September 2019 and I am pleased to say that we have exceeded revenue by $5,000 for a total of $133,000 and expenses were only $1,000 higher than predicted,” said Keith MacIntyre, president of the OSA. “We still have work to do but we are well on track with our plans. I am also happy to support that our new security system and communication with RCMP and bylaw has greatly improved community safety in and around the building.”

MacIntyre was elected as the OSA president after Robin Robertson resigned in May 2019, and provided council an overview of the challenges that the school has been facing in the last nine years. He noted that the City of Penticton and School District 67 were instrumental in keeping the school’s operations running, and that a total of $1.5 to 2 million have been invested into the building.

“Looking through the documents, it’s clear to me that the operating funds of the OSA were never intended for major capital improvements but instead for day to day operations, utility bills and general repairs. As we continue to grow and thrive, we hope to be able to contribute more substantially to capital improvements but at the moment we are relying on grants and fundraising for this,” said MacIntyre.

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

MacIntyre highlighted the importance of maintaining the school as the city continues to grow, and with it, the need for event and group meeting space. He also noted that he would like to see the OSA rekindle relationships with local businesses and organizations, and that the school is looking to increase membership by 500 users. Palmer confirmed that current membership is about 600 users.

“I’ve heard countless people tell me they love this building, but I am making a plea to the City of Penticton and the entire community. Show me that you want this building open as much as I do. Bring us your events, buy a membership, bring us your donations, bring us your talents and help us help the community,” said MacIntyre. “We have a history of festivals, events. We have a much higher percentage of artistic talent than anywhere I can think of. Penticton has an army of volunteers. We can do anything, we just have to decide what to do and do it.”

According to MacIntyre, the OSA “set a goal to undergo $470,000 in capital improvement between 2020 and 2029, which includes tax and a 10% margin of error. We will be seeking a total of $500,000 in grants and fundraising income; additional funds will support cosmetic repairs, flooring upgrades, and other improvements.” The school has already applied for funding through the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan (CFSO) and presented to council to see if the previously requested $85,000 in funding for the school that was discussed in March 2019 would still be available.

READ MORE: New president, new outlook for Okanagan School of the Arts

Coun. Frank Regher, who is the council representative to the OSA, expressed his support of the ongoing efforts made by the school to return its former success. Coun. Judy Sentes had Palmer confirm that individual memberships with the school cost $25 per year, a family membership is $45 per year and there are varying costs for organizations, small businesses and corporations.

The possibility of the city providing additional funding through a municipal grant to the OSA will be covered during the upcoming budget discussions.

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

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Johns used her lunch break to film her audition video for the Vancouver Canucks.
VIDEO: Former Vees anthem singer wants to bring her voice to the Canucks

Crystal Johns made her audition tape during a lunch break

Flooding has become a reality for many communities in the Okanagan Valley as the region faces more extreme weather storms, blamed on the impact of climate change. (File photo)
Okanagan high target for spring flooding

Higher snowpack and mild winter precipitation levels raise concerns for Canada’s insurance industry

The Village of Keremeos is preparing to open up the village to in-province travellers as the province enters Phase 3 of its reopening plan. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Electric vehicle use continues to rise in Keremeos

August saw 147 vehicles for the peak of the year

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Penticton Real Canadian Superstore
New COVID case at Penticton Superstore

The last day the employee worked was Jan. 21

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read