Following the damage done to the Machine Shop in 2018, the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District was briefly without a space to occupy. With help from the town, the council pursued the former Ecole Davis Road Elementary as a potential temporary location for the gallery. By October 1st, 2019, the newly acquired space began its transition into Ladysmith’s temporary home for the arts. Not surprisingly however, it proved rather difficult to make the building look less like a school and more like a refined art gallery.
The school itself has a longstanding reputation in the town of Ladysmith. In 2014, a tedious back-and-forth involving School District 68 and concerned parents of students took place. Despite the immense amount of pushback received by the district, the doors of the school were permanently shut in June of that year. French immersion and English students alike were sent to various other schools within the district, including North Oyster Elementary, Ladysmith Primary, and (quite controversially) Ladysmith Secondary. Following the decision to close the beloved school, the aging building sat unoccupied until 2019.
Once the lease had been signed, no time was wasted by the team involved in the large-scale move. Scheduled shows ran as usual, and dozens of classes were organized for the upcoming months. Currently, the arts council hosts monthly shows, classes, workshops, fundraisers, concerts, and more.
Due to a number of financial factors, the Machine Shop has not received the repairs needed to make it habitable again, and probably won't for a number of years. For this reason, the school is still the home of the council and gallery. For more information regarding the future location of the arts in Ladysmith, see this letter.