Penticton Arts Council History

The Penticton and District Community Arts Council was formed in 1960, the mandate being to stimulate, encourage and foster the arts in our community.

Civic arts have been an ongoing interest. In its initial period, the Arts Council encouraged the idea of a community arts centre, now known as the Library/Museum Complex and purchased a Tony Onley painting and a Jack Shadbolt print to begin the permanent collection of the Penticton Art Gallery, then housed in the same building.

In the late 1970’s the Arts Council lobbied for the purchase of the Leir House by the City to be administered as a Cultural Centre by the Arts Council.

In 1984 the Arts Council encouraged the City to sponsor the BC Festival of the Arts. The legacy of $17, 000 from this event went towards the construction of the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan.

In 1963 the Arts Council secured funding of the R.S Alexander mural which hung in the Penticton Airport Terminal until 1984 when the building was renovated. Through the efforts of the Arts Council, along with funding from the City and BC Lotteries Fund, the mural was restored in 1989 and now hangs in the Penticton Library. Through the same funding, new curtains were purchased for the auditorium stage of the Library/Museum Complex.

In 1987 the Arts Council sought funding from three levels of government and undertook the upgrading of the Leir House. Kitchen, plumbing, electrical, irrigation and fire alarm systems were improved.

Throughout the years the Arts Council has added arts events, programs, public education and outlets for arts and crafts. It has lobbied for the arts locally, provincially and federally and continues to provide, through the Leir House Cultural Centre, a home for a myriad of cultural groups.