written by: Maurice Cardinal
Highpoint, a working studio, opened recently, and shares space with the Urban Décor Centre at 192nd and 24th in South Surrey – just outside of White Rock.
The Highpoint Studio painting-partners, gave personal tours to a steady stream of guests at the launch of their impressive and spacious studio.
Each artist displayed some of their finest pieces in a variety of styles.
Highpoint, tucked into an industrial complex not far from the High Point Equestrian Centre, is about equidistant between White Rock and Langley.
White Rock’s new mayor, Daryl Walker dropped in to say hello.
It’s always interesting to see politicians show up at art functions because one always hopes they will take the art industry seriously. Ideally, support it beyond more than a grade school level by funding an art and culture presence in their community that benefits real working artists and not just students and hobbyists.
Everyone agrees that it’s important to provide art incentive and creative space for youth, and of course for all the retired or semi-retired women who get together in their tea, pot, and gin klatches once a month to paint by numbers. Practiced art today is mostly a kids and ladies pastime, and for the latter, more like group therapy than art, which would have been good for artists with issues like Van Gogh, but by that standard, it’s not really art unless someone cuts off a body part.
Commitment to artistic vision or die trying is the missing element in hobby art, but today in the Everyone is a Star era, only the discerning notice the gap.
Things are a bit different in our modern times. We now know one doesn’t have to be mentally unbalanced to have great art radiate from one’s unconscious spirit, which means that today you can count on artists to be prolific and dependable. We’re professionals and have discipline, and more importantly, because we do it every day, we’ve developed a sense of observation and vision that is considerably more refined than most of society.
If you’re ever in conversation with an artist and it feels like they’re looking through you. They are. They’re just too polite to say. Old myths die hard. Smart artists have known for decades exactly where great art comes from and how it is produced. It’s not magic, but it is amazing.
Art is a real industry that drives real revenue, but you would never know it by the lack of support it receives from civic leaders who all too often reduce art and culture budgets indiscriminately. Art contributes favorably to the mental health and stability of our community, but it is a message seldom heard. Artists contribute much more to society than they are given credit. Art, organically and holistically, delivers tangible health benefits that are significant and measurable.
In almost all cities, new baseball and soccer fields get built, but a “dedicated” art centre that looks, smells, and functions like a real art centre and not an afterthought tacked on to the community sports complex, rarely gets even lip service. Art space needs to be more than the empty-building temporary pop-up spaces that cost next to nothing – and of course deliver nothing. Art needs a permanent home, and a solid foundation just like a bank or a grocer. We’re not gypsies and nomads, at least not by choice, although many of us are bohemian and free spirited. I’ve had many conversations with investors and bankers over the years about funding for the arts, and the common stickler for this group is that artists don’t keep regular 9-5 hours. True, we don’t – artists work twice that long at least, plus weekends, and we produce a heart-healthy mindful meditative experience that causes people to smile, and think, which in turn leads to happier lives and more productive communities.
All those condos that are roaring up in White Rock, each one should be mandated to provide a portion of street level storefront space for the exclusive display of fine art for international and local artists – mandatory, just like taxes. The same goes for malls and outdoor public spaces.
It seems that White Rock’s new mayor Daryl Walker has a true spiritual feel for art.
Considering that art is in large part an intellectual endeavor, it’ll be interesting to see if our newly elected politicians can deliver funding to support serious art and culture in sunny White Rock, a Mecca for artists as well as an untapped pool of wealthy art lovers and collectors . The overarching goal should be to make our community culture more inviting for sophisticated and passionate art patrons who already live in White Rock, South Surrey, Ocean Park and surrounding areas. Many live in lavish mega-million dollar estates and have art budgets larger than most annual salaries. An audience of this resonance needs to be seduced with more than dollar store conveniences. The city needs to help offer greater opportunities to attract high caliber merchants and traders. Tribute bands, pop-up galleries, and ice cream shops have entertainment value and feed the common appetite, but it’s empty calories.
A new high end art gallery, Art Couture, opened several months ago in White Rock’s West Beach dining area. This exclusive showcase gallery hangs original pieces by international artists who also sell their work at auction houses like Sotheby’s, for prices that reach almost two million dollars. Art Couture curator and gallery owner Jenny Xu has the right idea and an amazing space, but without industry support from the city, her fate, like all artists, teeters in the same realm as the neighboring businesses that gave up or were drained over the last few years. Jenny is smart and has substantial business experience so she’ll blossom, but most business owners don’t have her depth.
Art Couture also has international reach for both artists and buyers and could easily evolve to become a destination gallery with a global presence – something the natural beauty of White Rock richly deserves and would carry well.
With working artist studios like Highpoint, and exclusive galleries like the White Rock Art Gallery midtown–one of the west coast’s most prestigious galleries, and now Art Couture at West Beach, the sunny seaside town of White Rock has a much better chance to grow into an art enclave like Carmel by-the-sea Ca, but first we all need a Clint Eastwood attitude of Make My Day.
So how ’bout it Mayor Daryl, are you packin’ heat?
Our Art & Culture industry needs your economic support so we can make White Rock great again – oops sorry, that slogan is already taken, but you know what we mean … the White Rock art industry needs money and not just a smile, handshake, and a nod. All types of artists here trust and are counting on your leadership, and so are art lovers, to give creativity and expression a place in White Rock to be reverently appreciated. Most of the facilities are already here or are being built, they just need direction and to be professionally managed against a global backdrop.