Penelakut drummers and dancers at the expanded Forbes Hall grand opening celebration. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

Penelakut drummers and dancers at the expanded Forbes Hall grand opening celebration. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

Official opening of expanded Forbes Hall a gala affair

Dancing, drumming and ceremony mark a momentous occasion on Thetis Island

It was a gala affair a long time coming on Thetis Island Saturday.

The community officially ushered in a new era with the grand opening of the expanded and renovated Forbes Hall.

The program featured the unveiling of a large art installation created by Coast Salish artist Maynard Johnny Jr. that graces the front of the building.

‘Lee Mu’xutun Shhwuee’u Talu – Guardian, we welcome you all’ was designed in the Spirit of Reconciliation and serves as a bridge to the gap between the neighbouring Penelakut Island and Thetis Island communities. Penelakut dancers and drummers performed at the ceremony.

The official ribbon cutting was conducted by Johnny, Cowichan Valley Regional District director Lynne Smith and Thetis youth Ella Kasting.

The $2 million expansion project was funded primarily by community donations, with reduced costs from volunteer labour. It features numerous amenities not previously available to islanders.

ArtCommunity

 

Maynard Johnny Jr. and Ron and Kelly Bannister unveil Johnny’s art piece on the newly-expanded Forbes Hall on Thetis Island. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

Maynard Johnny Jr. and Ron and Kelly Bannister unveil Johnny’s art piece on the newly-expanded Forbes Hall on Thetis Island. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

From left: Peter Luckham, Rocky James, Maynard Johnny Jr., Florence James and Kelly Bannister at the Forbes Hall grand opening. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

From left: Peter Luckham, Rocky James, Maynard Johnny Jr., Florence James and Kelly Bannister at the Forbes Hall grand opening. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

Coast Salish artist Maynard Johnny Jr. speaks at the Forbes Hall grand opening. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

Coast Salish artist Maynard Johnny Jr. speaks at the Forbes Hall grand opening. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

The ribbon cutting for the new Forbes Hall expansion project opening features Kelly Bannister, Lynne Smith, Maynard Johnny Jr. and Ella Kasting. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

The ribbon cutting for the new Forbes Hall expansion project opening features Kelly Bannister, Lynne Smith, Maynard Johnny Jr. and Ella Kasting. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

Maynard Johnny Jr. and Ron and Kelly Bannister unveil Johnny’s art piece on the newly-expanded Forbes Hall on Thetis Island. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)

Maynard Johnny Jr. and Ron and Kelly Bannister unveil Johnny’s art piece on the newly-expanded Forbes Hall on Thetis Island. (Photo by Carol Sowerby)