Reputation grows among satisfied users of Powell River venue

Community groups choose The Arts, Recreation and Culture Community Event Centre for activities

Since The ARC Community Event Centre officially opened in November 2017, its reputation as a desired venue in the community has expanded.

A very successful event was Fashion for A Passion in October, which raised $5,000 for inclusion Powell River’s self-advocates group. The sold-out fashion show brought in 200 people, many of whom had never attended an event at The ARC.

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“It was so well received and so much fun, we plan to have a follow-up event in April,” says venue manager Jenn Lawlor, who has been working for the facility’s owner, inclusion Powell River Society, for a total of 20 years. She recently became the self-advocates liaison.

Drumming with Chris Weeks was one of the first programs at The ARC with participation from both clients, staff and members of the community. Yoga is another. A murder mystery with Theatre Now was jointly promoted with staff from Jean Pike Centre for Inclusion, the building at 7055 Alberni Street where The ARC is located.

“iPR Society and ARC committee are most grateful to Powell River Community Forest and the City of Powell River for the generous donation that helped with renovations to make it a more appealing rental venue,” says iPR CEO Lilla Tipton. She added that additional upgrades have been identified for future funding opportunities.

The Rotary Club of Powell River has held two polio fundraising dinners at The ARC and created a beautiful garden area that adds to the outdoor ambience of the facility. The club also held a summer barbecue in the garden members helped develop.

Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy (PRISMA) holds its annual general meeting in January and uses the facility for a practice venue when the summer symphony academy takes place each June.

It was a packed house last year for Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA Powell River) Beer Festival, which was so popular it had to move to a larger space in 2018.

International Choral Kathaumixw used the space to feed a large children’s choir from China this summer.

Recently there was a craft fair and staff dinner for Quality Foods on the same day.

“The self-advocates worked quickly to dismantle tables from the craft fair and set up for the dinner in a very tight time frame,” explains Lawlor. “I love working at The ARC and with the self-advocates. It’s a great job.”

Celebrations of life and fundraisers by Scout Mountain and Success by Six also have been held at The ARC. Several weddings have been held with more booked for 2019, the first one in March.

Seminars by Women’s Health Network, Powell River Employment Program Society, financial planners, insurance companies and Vancouver Coastal Health have resulted in positive comments about the venue.

Self-advocates can provide paid services as greeters and coat checkers, table bussers and dishwashing.

“When we had the grand opening last year, self-advocates greeted people, offered to take their coats, and were great hosts,” says Lawlor. “They looked very smart in their white shirts and black pants with black ARC embroidered aprons and name tags.”

Rentals also can include extras like wine glasses, dishes and tablecloths for an additional charge, or they can be provided by renters.

All groups and individuals who rent The ARC are required to have their own insurance, something that is required by inclusion’s insurer. Typically, it is $150, which can be a concern but for an event with 50 participants, it is only $3 each, says Lawlor.

Internal programs include staff training, presentations to families, seasonal dances, socials and concerts. A summer garden party and art walk held in August was attended by clients, staff and community members.

“The art walk provided an opportunity for our clients to display their creativity,” explains Lawlor, adding that several sales took place.

On Thursday, December 13, the annual Christmas Open House takes place between 2 and 5 pm. Members of the public are invited to view the venue and meet staff and clients.

For more information about venue rentals, contact Lawlor at 604.483.8468.

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