The En’owkin Centre has always been a collaborative space but thanks to a grant from the B.C. government, it’s about to expand its vision.
En’owkin is the recipient of a $27,500 provincial grant, part of the Collaborative Spaces pilot project, which encourages innovation and partnership between arts organizations through the sharing of space and specialized equipment.
In the case of En’owkin, those funds are being used to create the Creative Reconciliations – Cultural Arts Hub Project, repurposing the En’owkin Centre Gathering Space for theatre performance, and installing a projector and retractable screen. Re-flooring the En’owkin public and display areas is also part of the project, which will transform entrance spaces to creative spaces, which can showcase students and artist in residence works.
“The Creative Reconciliations – Cultural Arts Hub Project provides the spaces to foster multi-organizational arts programming in our region. It’s an exciting initiative, which opens cultural doors,” said Lauren Terbasket, En’owkin’s executive director in a press release. “Our collaborative work is extensive and respectful throughout our 40-year history.”
The En’owkin Centre is one of the only multi-disciplinary indigenous arts institutions funded and recognized both provincially and nationally with a mandate to operate an indigenous institute of higher learning, offering educational programs to enhance and revitalize arts culture, language, leadership and excellence.
A second phase of the project will be to strengthen partnerships with the Penticton Indian Band, the City of Penticton and various organizations to identify opportunities to partner for indigenous artists and writers in residence spaces.
Collaborative arts spaces are an expanding concept in the creative sector: mixed-use, flexible spaces that blend educational, recreational and cultural engagement uses to generate new artistic opportunities, enhance accessibility and strengthen local economies.
“The arts and culture teachings at the En’owkin Centre have always been so inclusive, and now the centre has a chance to become an even greater contributor to our region’s economy,” Penticton MLA Dan Ashton said.
En’owkin makes its home on Penticton Indian Band lands, where Chief Jonathon Kruger said they are honoured to have supported the institution and the new arts hub project.
“It is an amazing institution that provides culture, arts and education. These funds enhance the opportunities for future cross cultural arts and cultural programming in our region,” said Kruger. “We are very excited to see the facility once the renovations are complete.”
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said part of the city’s commitment to fostering better relationships with the PIB is having management staff attend workshops at the En’owkin Centre to better understand First Nations culture, history and spirit.
“Aboriginal Tourism also has tremendous growth potential for our area and can showcase the history and culture of our region, said Jakubeit. “The En’owkin Centre is home to a very talented artistic and creative community, so we are thrilled to hear their programming is expanding and getting enhanced.”