A former Vancouver library will soon be revived as the city’s first art and cultural center — a multi-year project that could cost between $13.5 million and $17.5 million.
The 50,000-square-foot center will house classrooms, exhibit spaces, a community kitchen and cafe for art classes, events and artist residencies.
“The arts hub will connect people through arts and culture in shared activities, creative collaboration, public discussions, festivals and events,” an online project page states. “The arts hub will be a source of community pride and a beacon for Vancouver’s cultural expression and artistic spirit.”
The Vancouver arts hub will replace the former Vancouver Community Library at 1007 E. Mill Plain Blvd., which closed to the public in 2011 and has been used for book processing and storage.
The city is working with the Vancouver Culture, Arts & Heritage Commission to develop renderings, create programs and find revenue for the center.
“Our community has such a great need for cultural spaces and artistic spaces,” said Brad Richardson, executive director of the Clark County Historical Museum and member of the commission. “I see my role on the commission as responding to what the community really wants in the end and making a space that everyone’s gonna feel really excited about.”
The remodel could cost as much as $17.5 million — most of which will go toward seismic upgrading, general renovations and accessibility remodeling. Design and construction funding will come from grants, donations and city funding, according to the website.
Richardson described the project as an investment, saying that the arts center will ultimately enhance Vancouver’s status as an art and culture hub.
“We really need something like this in our community. It’s going to add a really wonderful place for artists, for cultural engagement, and for kids across our community,” Richardson said. “It’s going to make people want to visit here, it’s going to make people want to stay here, and it’s going to make people want to grow our community to have a really robust culture and arts.”
The center will earn revenue from memberships, class fees, facility rentals and food, beverage and retail sales.
The commission and city staff are asking for input on the arts hub at www.beheardvancouver.org/vancouver-arts-hub before they present their plan to the Vancouver City Council in June.