- BC Games
Plans gear up for West Van's unconventional waterfront museum
Will the new 30,000-square-foot Centre for Art, Architecture + Design soon be built overlooking John Lawson Park?
While not officially approved, the project is gearing up to be the new home of the West Vancouver Museum.
The district-run website for CAAD says the new arts centre "will focus on exhibiting contemporary and historical art, architecture and design."
It will be built on top of a parking lot on the 1600-block of Bellevue Avenue near the waterfront; a location council voted to support in principle in May last year.
Once the plan is more precise, public consultations must be called, a fact the CAAD website doesn't outline except briefly in multi-page documents linked to the page.
This appears to have led to some confusion with some people thinking the controversial arts centre is actually a done deal, without the public being consulted.
For instance, Vancouver's North Shore Tourism posted on Facebook "A new Centre for Art Architecture and Design in West Vancouver… Congratulations to everyone involved in establishing the Centre!"
Others have also mistaken CAAD as approved. An opinion letter published in a North Shore paper on Oct. 18 says, "This, at a time of growth in the arts on the North Shore, e.g. the Gordon Smith Gallery, the Center for Art, Architecture and Design envisioned and approved in West Vancouver…"
But Darrin Morrison, who is the curator/director for both the West Van Museum and the Centre for Arts, Architecture + Design, says there are more steps in the process before the centre can be given the green light.
"The last year of work was to develop the business plan, to select an architect and then the next step is to raise funds to build the centre," he told The Outlook.
The plan is to have the Centre for Art, Architecture + Design built on a district-owned parking lot near the waterfront and funded by donors. Taxpayers will pay for operation costs.
The current West Vancouver Museum on 17th Street took on a different focus than many traditional museums after it split with the archival section in 2005. Instead of displaying old artifacts and historical records, it focuses on the area's rich history in West Coast Modernism and hosts eclectic art exhibits.
Morrison says the current museum, which is housed in the 74-year-old Gertrude Lawson House, has outgrown its space and desperately needs an updated facility to better serve North Shore residents.
The West Vancouver Society for Art, Architecture + Design was formed to support the creation of the new facility, led by a board of directors including acclaimed local artist Gordon Smith, Mayor Michael Smith and Merla Beckerman, an arts advisor and consultant.
The board is working with Brent Leigh, deputy CAO for the district, who said the website isn't misleading.
"If you're going to appeal to donors, you've got have your act in gear. You've got to have your business plan and some levels of design and certainly have the presence through a website to say this is what we're doing."
He said donors need to be organized to fund the centre before the project can be approved.
"This year we will pursue three things: the completion of the business plan, some ideas around the conceptual approach that we're taking to design and particularly an understanding about the donor feasibility status and strategy," he explained.
In August an architect firm, Russell Hollingsworth, was chosen from nearly 30 respondents and the business plan for the centre is expected to be presented to council in December.
For more information about the centre go to caad.ca.