From left, Barbel Schroeter, Simone Allwood, Marty Ryan (facilitator), Angie Allwood and Lorraine Hnidan-Kendall participate in a copper-etching workshop at the newly opened arts space in Hazelton. (Christine Añonuevo photo)

Arts space opens in historic Hazelton café

Misty River Community Arts Council hosting workshops and exhibitions after receiving grants

Hazelton has a new arts space in the former Historic BC Café.

The Misty Rivers Community Arts Council, a small group of volunteers, dedicated to promoting arts in the Upper Skeena and Hazelton area, received funding in 2019 from the Rural Dividend Fund (RD) to lease and open an arts space in the Village of Hazelton until March 2021.

Additionally, the grant has enabled the council to hire two part-time employees, a local arts coordinator, Jon Dowdell, and arts administrator, Cynthia McCreary.

Further funding in partnership with Gitxsan Wet’suwet’en Education Society has been received from the Bulkley Valley Community Foundation, for a hanging system that will enable art exhibits and artist talks in the space. The council played a pivotal role in assisting with the community mural, facilitated by Leah Pipe.

It has hosted art jams, a Christmas craft fair, copper etching and basket making workshops since September 2019 in the new space and are looking for community members, who would like to gallery sit and help volunteer with various arts events.

Currently, an exhibition of the late Larry Hnidan, an artist from Wilp (House) Nikateen, is showing.

Hnidan attended the Ksan School of Northwest Design and Carving from 1986-1989 and loved art in all its forms. Some of his notable works include the Sik-E-Dakh’s band logo design and a totem pole on display in the healing room at Wilp Si’ Satxw Healing Centre in Kitwanga.

A permanent wall featuring his work will be at the art space, which is located at 1630 Omineca Street, to honour the traditional territory of the House of Nikateen of the arts hub.

A members’ show is planned for Feb. 21 and a print exhibit featuring Ryan White from New Hazelton is scheduled for March 7.

Artist Mo Hamilton will be exhibiting in April and facilitating block print workshops and Michelle Stoney will be featured in May. Future exhibits and talks will include local artists such as Roy Henry Vickers, Leah Pipe, Simone Allwood and Dan Yunkws.

People interested in getting involved, becoming a member, showcasing their artwork or planning on visiting the space can contact Jon Dowdell, jon.d@mrcac.ca and like the Misty Rivers Community Arts Council Facebook page.

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