Coast Collective general manager Laura Rechwan paints plinths at the new Colwood home of the arts collective. Sculptures

Coast Collective general manager Laura Rechwan paints plinths at the new Colwood home of the arts collective. Sculptures

Coast Collective transforming in Colwood

From the seaside to the cityside, art centre opens at Westridge Landing

It will be a celebration of Transformations.

Both the art on the walls, and even the walls themselves spearhead the Coast Collective Art Centre’s transition from the seaside to the cityside, with the first show at their new home in the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Colwood.

“Going into the new place is rather overwhelming,” said the centre’s executive director, Cindy Moyer.

“I don’t think I have ever seen all the infrastructure and inventory together in one space where it isn’t properly distributed … It’s piled up everywhere.”

That said, she’s excited about the possibilities.

“As (the inventory) starts to settle and move into its proper areas, you start to really see how magnificent the space is going to work. It’s a whole other world for us.”

Advantages of moving to the centrally located development on Wale Road include more opportunity to host classes at all times of day, Moyer said, and the ability for artists to see their work be exhibited in the hotel.

A rotation of purchasable artwork done by Coast Collective members will eventually hang on the foyer walls in Colwood’s first hotel.

Even with these positives, Moyer said leaving the “mansion by the sea” wasn’t easy.

“It’s certainly bittersweet. I remember when the (Pendray) house was last empty and it has a very different feeling when the art and the humanity that created it is no longer present,” she said of the historic building.

“It’s waiting for its new treatment, whatever that’ll be … and it’ll be a great opportunity for (the) Pacific Landing (developers) to transform it again.”

The arts centre’s new home boasts approximately 3,000 square feet of space and includes movable walls, a separate classroom, an office and gift shop.

There’s also space for what will be known as the Westridge Collection: a selection of art outside the regular gallery shows, with larger walls available to accommodate larger pieces.

The new location has already influenced some of the works to be presented in the Collective’s first show.

“Because it’s a whole new setting and more of an urban gallery vibe, people have submitted work that is harmonious with that,” Moyer said.

“It will look great – people will really have quite a feast. Going to the new location demands we challenge ourselves to work even smarter to do well in this opportunity … We hope (artists) participating see the value of reaching for the stars. We have a beautiful location: bring us your best stuff.”

Transformations opens today (Jan. 6) and runs until Jan. 31, with an opening celebration and reception planned for Friday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. The gallery is at 103-318 Wale Rd.