Stone sculptor Pat Field has taken on the presidency of the Okanagan School of the Arts and the Shatford Centre. Western News file photo

Revisioning the Okanagan School of the Arts

New president takes over Penticton arts organization

Our Arts Matter column is in new hands, as is the Okanagan School of the Arts.

“I’m a stone sculptor in town here, and I’ve taken over the presidency of the Okanagan School of the Arts,” said Pat Field, who will begin authoring the Arts Matter column next week. “I’m excited about this position and where we’re going with it.”

After some restructuring at the executive level, Field was selected as interim president replacing outgoing president Georgia Krebs, who is moving to vice-president for continuity.

Jane Shaak, the long time executive director fo the OSA and the Shatford Centre, is also moving on.

Calling Shaak “the heart and soul of our organization,” Field said she has found a new position and will be leaving in September.

“We fully support her moving that direction and that has given us the opportunity to step back and do some navel gazing,” said Field.

“We want to go back to our roots and be more focused as an arts organization,” said Field, adding that they also want to build on the successes Shaak has had with the community in building a successful social enterprise operation around the Shatford Centre, which is the home for the OSA’s home.

Social enterprise, Field said, is creating a business that supports social or cultural objectives. For the Shatford Centre, that means any profits from its operation are reinvested in the building and OSA programming.

“We now want to take it to the next step and look at how we can collaborate with the other arts organizations in town and provide a social enterprise that supports all three organizations: the Art Gallery, the Penticton Arts Council and Okanagan School of the Arts,” said Field.

“Now we are ready to go back to the public and ask the question, ‘How would you like to see the building be used in the future,’ given that it is the Okanagan School of the Arts that is housed in that centre.”

That could include continuing to run the Shatford as it is, a community centre that generates revenue to support the OSA, but it could also include expanding into a regional hub for arts and creativity, evoking the Okanagan Summer School of the Arts, which was a well-known arts program through the 1960s and 70s.

A third option, and a long range plan could be to take the centre and school to the international level, “turn it into a significant space where instructors and artists would come here because it is know as a place to be educated in the arts.”

“All of these things take money and take time and effort. So it’s not an overnight affair,” said Field. “It’s about building on our previous successes and using all of the community support we have to help us engage in a process that we can get there together.”


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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