New arts center will be haven for artists, creatives
Fraser wants to be a national destination for artists and arts enthusiasts and has big plans to make it happen, including a $5 million Center for Creative Arts.
The project, proposed by the Fraser Public Arts Committee, would include an art gallery, artist studios, makerspaces, as well as seven apartments, including one for an artist in residence.
“I believe where human expression is supported, prosperity follows,” said Eric Vandernail, member of the Public Arts Committee. “We do believe that if we support the arts it does bring in revenue for the town. (…) If we can have arts and performances and all these things going on at the arts center then it’s going to bring people here for more than just outdoor recreation and support. I think it will help set Fraser apart a little bit.”
The arts center will be located on Eastom and Doc Susie Avenues behind the new Fraser Still.
Town manager Jeff Durbin said he believes the proposed arts center would help revitalize the downtown area and align with the town’s goal to make Fraser more walkable.
“It would be a nucleus of not only creative energy, but of community and economic energy as well,” Durbin said.
Durbin said the town supports an arts center because it would be unique to Fraser and appropriate for the community.
“One of the things that is really characteristic of Fraser is all of the creative energy in the community,” he said. “And something that’s unique to Fraser would be a special thing.”
The goal is not only to make the arts center an anchor for Fraser, but also provide more activities for visitors and residents, Vandernail said.
The gallery space will be designed so that it is flexible enough to meet the demand of the pieces it displays. There will also be a private gallery for a permanent exhibit.
“Mainly I want that gallery to be, when we do have an artist in residence or artists making work there, a place for them to exhibit that work and sell their work,” Vandernail said. “I hope that the main gallery is a place where it changes quite a bit because of all the work being produced.”
Aside from viewing art, the arts center will also be a space to create. The building will also house makerspaces with common-use equipment for art classes or workshops and use by artists.
For those who would be interested in immersing themselves in the arts, the building will also have seven living spaces, including one for an artist in residence. The resident artist would be responsible for creating work for the gallery and helping to run it.
The town would likely choose the artist through an application process on a yearly or biannual basis, Vandernail said. The other six apartments would be open to the public.
However, the first step is to raise money through private donations and fundraising efforts. Vandernail said the arts committee will be working with the Economic Development Advisory Committee to fundraise.
Since the arts center is soley funded by private money, there is no project timeline currently.
“There’s a lot of potential up here and there are a lot of private donors that would be interested in this, so I think it’s totally doable,” he said. “It will be a challenge, I think we’re shooting for the stars here, but we’re also excited at the same time because I think it’s something unique to Fraser and I think the passion is there.”
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