New arts venture is in the can

The Hub Arts Collective prepares for the opening of its new venue in downtown Vernon with a fundraiser Wednesday.

Matt Brown can be found in many of Vernon’s ventures: the Okanagan Science Centre’s Haunted House, the Powerhouse Theatre, Ellison Elementary PAC, among other things.

Lately, he is leading up to the re-launch of a previous venture, The Hub Arts Collective, a labour of love not just for Brown, but for other artists alike.

Coined “The Hub” for the word’s definition: “a centre around which other things revolve or from which they radiate; a focus of activity,” it’s a place for the local arts scene to thrive, become connected to other circles and create new ones.

And by art, The Hub collective means anything that falls under the arts umbrella, from painting to yoga, music to filmmaking, acting to dance.

“The Hub wants to house the practices in one spot to workshop, collaborate, and showcase together,” said Brown. “There are a lot of different art practices and circles in Vernon that need the support of interested like-minded people with some training and experience. We want to help be one of those bridges.”

Located in Vernon’s downtown core in the old 30th Avenue Pawn Shop beside the BookNook and the Towne Cinema, a lot of work has already gone into the preparation for The Hub’s expected January launch.

Brown and fellow artist Ryan Robson along with The Hub’s three other studio artists have been neck deep in getting The Hub ready, and have already held a few events to introduce the public to the space.

“You wouldn’t even recognize it now –– from the floors to the rafters, we’ve been working hard to see this place come together and solidify the original vision. It’s been intense,” said Brown. “I don’t think I would even be half way to where I am without all of the amazing support and help from different gracious people. A lot of it has been an uphill climb.”

The latest battle comes in the form of a plumbing project so The Hub can be outfitted with an up-to-standard lavatory.

Because of the building’s age and design, there needs to be a special toilet to be fully functional and accessible to anyone including those with special needs, said Brown.

“The toilet itself is $1,500, never mind the cost of labour, materials and installation,” he said. “I put it out on Facebook and suddenly I am getting comments of support left, right and centre from people who want to help.”

One of those people includes local singer-songwriter Tanya Lipscomb, who is organizing a fundraising benefit concert for the cause.

“I am baffled with how helpful and generous this community is,” said Brown. “I just hope that I can give back enough to all those that have given so much already.”

The upcoming fundraiser will take place at The Hub Wednesday at 6 p.m. with performances by Lorelle Raindown, Three Sixty, Jayme McKillop and LiLi & Rose.

The public is welcome to drop in, enjoy tunes from local musicians, check out the space, and support the development of The Hub. Entry is $5 at the door.