When Amanda Scott decided to open the Vault Café she wanted to create an atmosphere ripe with artistic interaction.
“We wanted to be this cool space and this great venue for people to celebrate their own projects,” she said.
The Vault Café opened in January of 2014 and has since become a hub for creativity.
“The dream is exactly what happened. The vision has come to life,” Scott said.
Thanks to the early success of the café, the City of Nanaimo has awarded Scott with the Emerging Cultural Leader Award.
On Thursday (April 9) the city will recognize her at the Culture and Heritage Awards at the Port Theatre.
“It’s very exciting. It is really cool to be recognized for what we are doing here. Of course it is not just me. It is the café,” Scott said.
The downtown coffee shop hosts everything from open mic nights to movie nights, poetry readings, live music and book launches in an effort to create a social atmosphere that is open to everyone.
“What we wanted was a social atmosphere where there was a lot of movement within the room,” Scott said.
In addition to hosting all kinds of events, the café also sells local artwork and music in an effort to promote homegrown talent.
“We don’t take any cut from the artists and the musicians,” she said. “We’re just happy to have the music and the art in our space.”
The café has become one of the bright spots for Nanaimo’s downtown. Scott hopes to see other vacant buildings become as successful as the café. “We need to fill these empty spaces. There are way too many vacant spaces in downtown Nanaimo,” Scott said.
She thinks the vacant buildings could be great temporary spaces for local artists.
“I think it would be really, really awesome to see some sort of rule implemented where even if a space is vacant and they can’t get renters that you have to allow local artists to display art in those windows.”
Scott, who herself works 10 to 12 hours a day, says winning the award represents all the hard work of the entire staff and her family, who have supported her dream since Day 1.
“I can’t do it without the gang,” she said. “My father goes out there at 5 a.m. everyday to sweep up cigarette butts off the sidewalk and my mom comes and makes cookies in the morning.”
The city’s culture awards will be held at the Port Theatre on April 9 at 7 p.m. The free event requires reservations; please visit www.porttheatre.com.
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