Pender Islands Artisan Cooperative was started in 2001 to provide
local island artisans with a venue to market their work. The co-op
model was chosen for its inherent values of equality, cooperation
and concensus building among its member owners. In order to join,
all members had to be producing their art locally and had to buy a
share in the co-op. From 2001 - 2004, members showed their work at
outdoor summer shows and at the farmers' market. They also participated
in the locally famous Christmas Craft Fair each November. However,
the goal was always to have a permanent location in which members
could work and show their art.
the old Hope Bay store complex was rebuilt after a devastating fire
in 1998, new retail and office spaces became available for rent. The
co-op would be able to realize its biggest dream - gallery space!
Starting in March of 2005, co-op members sent out a call for interest
to all local artists, inviting them to come and join the co-op to
help fulfill a long held co-op vision - to create a permanent place
for local artists and artisans to display their work for sale. Eleven
new members joined, for a total of 18, and in only a few short months,
the gallery space was leased, painted, wired, lighted, furnished and
artwork poured in.