In 1975, a small group of local people interested in painting incorporated a non-profit society known as the South Delta Artists Guild. Over the years, the Guild’s activities took place at several locations in Tsawwassen, including the Phoenix Club, a multi-use old converted firehall condemned and demolished in 2003.
In 1999, a decade of lobbying finally paid off when the Guild signed a partnership agreement with Delta Municipality through which the Guild became the “primary user” of the Kiwanis Longhouse [built in 1973]. The Municipality re-shingled the roof and reversed the cedar siding on the exterior wall to greatly enhance the appearance of the building. Meanwhile the Guild, through fundraising, raised $25,000 which covered the cost of installing a handicapped washroom, the purchase of tables, chairs and other equipment, and provided needed “start-up” money.
With space to call our own, the Kiwanis Longhouse Centre for the Visual Arts, membership has grown with numbers ranging between 150 to 180 annually. As a result, the Guild is able to offer instructional workshops in a variety of art media. Along with workshops there are several “drop-in” painting groups, as well as a permanent Gallery showing members’ paintings. The Gallery is open to the public several days a week.
As in all volunteer groups, the Guild’s success is due to the enthusiasm of members’ participation in the various activities. No matter what talents members may have, whether in administration, finance, writing, teaching, gallery and show organization, they all are essential to the continued success of the Guild.