Retired high school art teacher Liz Dailey works in the visual arts studio in the Art Centre at Cedar Hill. Dailey pays a nominal fee to use the space and would love to have more artists working alongside her.

Retired high school art teacher Liz Dailey works in the visual arts studio in the Art Centre at Cedar Hill. Dailey pays a nominal fee to use the space and would love to have more artists working alongside her.

Visual artists slow to warm to new studio space in Cedar Hill

Few artists taking advantage of drop-in time at visual arts studio in the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill, now open for four months

Standing in front of a canvas bathed in the light of a floor-to-ceiling window, a solitary figure listens to music on her pink headphones.

Liz Dailey is one of the few artists taking advantage of available drop-in time at visual arts studio in the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill, now open for four months.

Having the space to herself is a luxury, but Daily would prefer if fellow artists started benefiting from the resource sooner than later.

“I would just really love to see other artists here,” she said. “There’s a real energy when other artists get together and I miss that. There are very few places that give people that opportunity and this is one of those places.”

Dailey, a retired high school art teacher from Ontario, works in a range of mediums. She first read about the centre when she moved west in August.

“I was just blown away that this had been built,” she said, noting the affordability of rental.

“It’s a great idea because they’ve taken the arts and put it beside the rec

(centre).”

Similar to purchasing a recreation pass – once artists have registered for an orientation they can buy single drop-in studio visits (at a cost of $6.50 for adults), discounted punch cards ($51 for 10 visits, $120 for 25) or passes that allow unlimited use ($100 for three months, $175 for six months or $300 for the year).

The studios include storage for tool kits and oversized canvases.

But while the visual arts studio has had a slow start, across the hall the ceramics studio is bustling.

In addition to regular classes, this studio is open for drop-in time and includes the use of wheels and the kiln.

“When we opened in September, people were waiting to use (the ceramics studio),” said Tom Severson, visual arts programmer for the arts centre. “But since we’re only three months old, some people are just now realizing that we’re here.”

Severson said he expects more people will use the visual arts studio as they find out it’s available.

One way the word is getting out is through professional development series – including workshops on grant writing and income tax filing for artists – put on by the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria.

“Just by talking with people, I’m getting people interested already,” said Daily, who volunteers with the arts council, which is also sponsoring an artist in residence program.

The council also manages the centre’s art gallery and display spaces.

Learn more about the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria at www.cacgv.ca or visit the district of Saanich website at www.saanich.ca/parkrec/recreation/cedarart.html for a run-down of classes and studio spaces available at the arts centre.

nnorth@saanichnews.com