Mark Parlett said the closure of the Hive Emporium should prompt questions about technology’s impact on culture. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

‘End of an era’ as Gabriola Island art venue closes

Hive Emporium is second area gallery to shutter, after Nanaimo Arts Council in March

This fall, as its four-year lease expires, Gabriola Island’s Hive Emporium is closing is doors for the last time.

The art gallery, store, café, performance venue and meeting place occupies the building in Folklife Village plaza that housed Gabriola Artworks from 1996 to 2014, and its closure means the end for a space devoted to arts and culture for more than 20 years.

“The hole and the sadness in the community is that this marks the end of an era,” said Mark Parlett, who runs the Hive with partners Yarrow Koontz and DB Boyko.

For Nanaimo this is the second gallery closure since March, when the Nanaimo Arts Council left its headquarters at 78 Wharf St. In an Aug. 5 Facebook post the Hive team announced that the venue will close on Labour Day weekend.

Koontz said the last four years have been bittersweet.

“It’s been great in terms of all the artists and all the visual shows and music shows, the community,but the reality is brick and mortar shops are just suffering all over the place…” she said. “When there are opportunities for communities to support spaces like this it’s really important that they do because they’re disappearing.”

In anticipation of closing down, the Hive has been selling off its art and store fixtures. Its final exhibition, a pottery show by the Tozan Cultural Society, is underway and on Aug. 24 the Hive is holding its farewell party.

Parlett said many factors led to the closure the Hive. Among them are the challenges of competing with digital retailers and insufficient support from a community that can spend time and money elsewhere.

Parlett said in the face of “swipe culture” and the quick gratification of the internet age, “the battleground is consciousness.”

“What do we do? What do we value? How do we want to move? How do we want to be in the world? What gives our lives meaning?” he asked. “Without sounding elitist, often art.”

He said it can be a challenge to confront people to re-evaluate their priorities and become more culturally engaged. The Hive attempted that by being a gathering place for all forms of expression.

“I think the most important thing that we’ve done is created a space, an inclusive space, where people can come here and meet other artists, meet other musicians and meet other people,” Koontz said.

“I think that’s going to be actually the biggest hole in the community is that connection. Where people can just come and not be so isolated,” Boyko said.

She said a solution to the challenges facing cultural spaces will come from the grass roots. She said artists themselves have a responsibility to better articulate what they’re doing to attract an audience and they must more strategically co-ordinate their efforts.

“Something will have to replace what we’ve left behind,” Boyko said. “And we’ve put that back out there to the community when we sent out our [Facebook] message that hopefully there will be some other reincarnation of that.”

WHAT’S ON … Hive Emporium farewell party at the Hive, 9-575 North Rd., on Saturday, Aug. 24 from 8 p.m. to midnight.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIU students empowered to ‘shift the vote’ this election

VIU Students’ Union, B.C. Federation of Students launch ‘Our Time is Now’ campaign

Thieves steal keys, drive away with three vehicles from rental car lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened Monday at Enterprise Rent-A-Car on Shenton Road

RDN transit committee recommends keeping bus loop at Port Drive until summer

Regional District of Nanaimo board to debate recommendation Oct. 22

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates ‘disappointed’ with prime minister over blackface

Situation a ‘nightmare’ for Trudeau and the Liberals, says VIU professor

Opposition to 388 Machleary proposal over-extends public hearing

Nanaimo residents 10-1 against development plan in Old City Quarter, public hearing to be continued

VIDEO: B.C.’s famous cat Grandpa Mason has died

The story of the feral cat that started fostering kittens touched people around the world

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, crews on scene

Second bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health confirms second rabies case, this time in Saanich

B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in Yukon killing

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

Woman stabbed at least five times in Nelson during random attack

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

Most Read