Kelowna artist puts out call for spaces to foster creativity, community | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna artist puts out call for spaces to foster creativity, community

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Artists and musicians in Kelowna are talented and numerous but they still need one thing: a space to build a community and foster creativity between artists.

The sense of community between local artists was squashed during the COVD pandemic, and while it seems like it might be making a comeback, spaces to do art and connect are in short supply.

“There are few places that you can find community and it takes serious individuals to put themselves out there and even then it's hard. Even with public art and busking, it’s not made easily accessible,” Kelowna-based artist Cameron Gelderman said.

“I think that that community-oriented accessibility place isn’t really present. You can take classes but it’s all like $20 a week and I find that in places where there’s a paywall, there's a little bit of emptiness or less connection derived from it because it's not accessible to all.”

There have been different community outlets and spaces in the past for local residents who wish to make or buy art, but there are very few left.

“There was a dip during COVID-19 in community and art focus, and a dip of connection and not having a centre to connect makes it scarce and spread out," Gelderman said.

There are a lot of artists in Kelowna, he said, but the lack of space for artists to drop in to make and show their art is making it very hard to build a community.

Creating a community allows for more art and creativity, and encourages amateurs to take part in the artistic process, which allows the development of talent and confidence in what these people are making.

“I think having that third space, like a place where you can just show up and you know like-minded people are going to be there is something that could build community and creativity," Gelderman said. "I find myself most creative around other people that are also being creative and I have dreams of having a place downtown that has this as its primary entity.

Gelderman said doing art has been important to him and thinks a space that would encourage new artists and musicians to emerge is equally important.

“If I can help one person by sharing my art, then other artists can do the same thing," he said. "We need to be able to share our art and get people to start doing art.”

It's a hard thing being a small artist in Kelowna right now, but he believes there's light at the end of the tunnel.

“What I found here, is that you really have to pioneer it yourself, be an advocate and push your passions with a lot of effort to make it work," Gelderman said. "It's a bit of a tireless effort and the financial aspect of it definitely doesn’t match the work but that being said the community is talented and supportive and kind and accepting and welcoming.

While he recognizes there are some galleries in the city he pointed out there's a huge discrepancy between the amount of wall space and the number of artists.

“It feels like this era of collaboration is developing where there are more crossovers. We’re seeing visual arts attach to auditorial art where the opportunity can be extended to all and with that comes a bigger need for collaboration spaces. In my mind, it is just about finding a location, a venue or a space for artists to get together and those are going to come and are coming.”

Gelderman works with yarn to make immersive art and is currently exhibiting “Yarnlandia” at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art.

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