UPDATE: The Comox Valley Digital Creation Hub opened its doors in early March 2023. This hub aims to support local emerging and mid-career artists by eliminating the cost-barrier to digital tools for artmaking. Comox wants to explore how a community recording studio and access to photo and video equipment can provide a needed resource for people seeking to learn and grow.
Comox's DCH has a slightly different fee structure (outlined about halfway down their booking form), and we are now working with Comox to submit a grant so they can also offer entirely free supports, as we are able to do at the Central Island Hub thanks to grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the BC Arts Council. Watch their launch video.
Our super-region is a global tourism destination, arts and cultural tourism is a top tourism trend, and at least 5% of our population of ~900,000 are artists, artisans and other kinds of creatives (5 times more than the national average). There is so much opportunity here, and the great news is that some of the key puzzle pieces needed to realize our full potential are starting to fall into place.
One fundamental puzzle piece is the right kinds of supports and services to ensure artists can realize their creative goals and participate in the super-regional economy. Our research confirms that rural, remote and underserved artists [eg Indigenous, BIPOC] are most in need of these supports and services, and we are excited to share that these gaps are starting to be filled!
Creative Coast has partnered with The Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach to pilot the Central Island Digital Creation Hub which is now accepting books (launched early November 2022). Artists, artisans and creative entrepreneurs can access digital tools and coaching for free during this one year pilot (October 2022 through mid 2023).
Rising Tide Services, brought to you by the Rural Islands Economic Partnership, offers a free digital marketing helpline for members, as many as other essential business development services at reduced cost. Membership is $25/year for rural islanders, and $35/year if you live on Vancouver Island (aka the big island!)
Opportunities hidden in plain sight!
Line Robert, the Executive Director of Island Coastal Economic Trust for 15 years (until she retired in 2022), beautifully captures the potential of our arts and culture super-region in this quote from Creative Coast's October 2021 presentation to the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Summit.
“The arts is a human asset that’s available in our communities and entirely underexploited. The beauty of the arts is that it is highly sustainable. It doesn't have a huge impact on the environment. And it is something which can be integrated into a lot of other efforts: revitalization, business, public amenities. There is so much potential here, and the true potential is in the human assets which are just lying there dormant in communities: undervalued and underutilized."