The former St. Joseph’s School is now an artists studio. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Art studio takes over former St. Joseph’s School space in Chemainus

Public invited to a grand opening on May 1 to see what’s transpired

An art studio now occupies the former St. Joseph’s Elementary School space in Chemainus.

Island Catholic Schools and the St. Joseph’s Art Studios are holding a grand opening on Wednesday, May 1 from 2–8 p.m. at the site, 9735 Elm St.

During the event, nine artists who have created studios in the closed St. Joseph’s School will showcase their art, display items for sale and classes available, and celebrate the establishment of the facility. Highlights include individual studio tours and there will be a cake cutting around 5 p.m.

The St. Joseph’s campus closed in June of 2018 due to ongoing financial challenges, but the rejuvenation of the building is good news for Island Catholic Schools.

“When God closes a door, He opens a window!” enthused Keefer Pollard, former principal of St. Joseph’s and now district principal for Island Catholic Schools. “Although the closure of St. Joseph’s campus is a great loss for Island Catholic Schools, the new life in the use of the building, the opportunity for creative endeavour to occur, and the ability for Island Catholic Schools to continue serving the community by providing this venue, is a consolation for us.”

The nine professional artists now working within the space include: Dennis Brown, Sara Robichaud, Kim Oakes, Monica Maya, Barry Strasbourg-Thompson, Lorraine Taylor, Katherine Boudreau, Skye Skagfeld and Debra Fairweather.

Everyone is welcome to see what is happening in the old school building. Special invitation is extended to the arts community, Queen of Angels School in Duncan where many former St. Joseph’s students and teachers were relocated, St. Joseph’s alumni and All Saints Roman Catholic Parish members.

St. Joseph’s Elementary Catholic school opened in 1964 in Chemainus and operated continuously for some 54 years.

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