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PRISMA hub a qathet community collaboration

Major development coming for Townsite Public Market building

A shared 5,000-square-foot performing arts and cultural hub is being built by Pacific Region International Summer Music Association (PRISMA) within the Townsite Public Market building.

The project addresses diverse user group demand with a dedicated space for the artistic community in qathet, according to a media release from Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET).

ICET was founded by the Province of British Columbia in 2006, and is investing with PRISMA through the Capital and Innovation Program. The trust will contribute $200,000 toward a total new investment in the region of $744,466, the release stated.

Once complete, the space will serve as PRISMA’s permanent home for its operations, however, eight additional community groups have confirmed their intent to utilize the space, including Tla’amin Nation, qathet Concert Band and qathet Symphony Orchestra.

The media release indicated that private music instructors, festivals and practitioners of physical and culinary arts will also have a presence in the hub.

"The light, airy atmosphere and post-and-beam aesthetics will help create an inviting venue. An industrial kitchen, soundproofing and modern technology upgrades are also considered vital additions to repurposing the location into an event-ready space."

Another hope for the transformation of the Townsite Public Market space is to enhance visibility for tenants who rent space to sell their wares in order to attract visitors and residents to the Townsite area. 

PRISMA has negotiated a 10-year lease for the space and construction is expected to begin in July 2024, with a targeted completion date in December 2025.

“The support helps us realize PRISMA’s vision to create a new home for our festival and academy, and to extend our reach to support other arts organizations by providing them with a home base and rehearsal and storage spaces," stated PRISMA artistic director Arthur Arnold. "Over a decade ago, PRISMA started in a basement, and now we are ready to help others the way we were helped. May the arts hub cause a ripple effect that is beneficial for the entire community and region.”

The arts hub will overlook the former pulp and paper mill that once led the local economy. In recent times, the qathet region has relied on tourism and arts to bolster its economy and by creating this venue as a hub inspired by social enterprise models will help grow the economic potential of qathet's cultural assets, the release stated.

“Our collaboration with the PRISMA Festival is a testament to the harmonious potential of cross-cultural exchange through the arts, a journey that speaks to the heart of reconciliation," stated Tla’amin culture and heritage manager Drew Blaney. "An arts hub at the Townsite Market offers an unprecedented opportunity to deepen connections, not just for the Tla’amin Nation but for the entire qathet region."

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