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Curtain closes on Vernon arts collective

Pictured in this Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 photo, The Hub Arts Collective space which closed earlier in the month.
September 20, 2014 - 2:36 PM

VERNON - The curtains have closed at a venue where many local artists played their debut concerts and presented their first art shows.

The Hub Arts Collective, operated by actor and director Matthew Brown, welcomed soap makers, clothing designers, culinary artists, performance artists, comedians, dancers, painters and local bands, among other talents, over its three year run. From kindergarteners to artists in their 70's, no one was turned away based on age, experience or resume.

Shutting down the program wasn’t an easy decision for Brown. It would be the second time he’d launched the arts collective (the first was in 2006) and watched it fall through.

Paying the rent at the 30 Avenue space was a constant challenge; the only way the collective made money was by renting out the stage or via a commission on art that was sold. Between the financial strain and health issues that arose, Brown reluctantly closed the Hub in early September.

“There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t get a few messages (like) sorry to hear and what a great space and you’ll be truly missed,” Brown says.

His goal was to create a safe environment where artists of all stripes could come together, learn and grow. In that regard, he has no regrets.

‘‘What inspiration means to me is there’s something that has an affect on you and from that an idea spawns that otherwise wouldn’t have existed,” he says.

Another mandate was to promote emerging artists in a city.

“There’s not many places for youth to have a crack at it with their garage band,” Brown says. “We were the testing ground for people. Probably 80 per cent of artists that showed there had never shown before.”

One of his favourite things about the Hub was seeing emerging artists discover their worthiness.

“I don’t think there’s enough emphasis put on the need to give our youth and our future a voice and a venue to do that,” Brown says.

In its early days, Brown recalls shows with only six people in the audience. That grew to full houses and some of his proudest memories. He’s optimistic about the next chapter of his life. A few pages down the line, there might even be another arts collective.

With all the creative energy of the arts collective swirling around, his only disappointment is the enterprise started and ended with him. He’d hoped it would grow into something bigger than his own vision. He dreamt of passing the torch to someone else.

“I really wanted to put the message in the bottle, cork it, throw it in the ocean and not have it wash up on the same shore I was standing on. I really wanted it to reach a different beach.” 

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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