‘Incubator of creativity’ launched on Semiahmoo Peninsula

PlayRoom at Centennial Park Arts Space to feature various artists from around community.

Virginia Gillespie is hoping her recently launched PlayRoom will be a way for artists of different disciplines to connect with one another.

Virginia Gillespie is hoping her recently launched PlayRoom will be a way for artists of different disciplines to connect with one another.

A place for artists to connect with one another, experiment in other disciplines and ponder the Peninsula arts scene was launched in White Rock last week.

The PlayRoom, described by host Virginia Gillespie as an ‘incubator of creativity’, offers a free opportunity for artists of all kinds to come together to share ideas and try new things in a positive environment.

The gatherings are held Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. (warm-up begins at 6:30) at the Centennial Park Arts Space (next door to Centennial Arena) and are facilitated each week by a different local artist.

“The idea behind it is to be a way for artists to get together in an experimental way, and to try out new things or maybe collaborate,” Gillespie explained, noting it is a great way for artist of various disciplines – visual arts, theatre, poetry – to connect with one another.

“I know there are a number of very talented people who work as groups or individuals, but we don’t really have what I would call an arts district or arts scene.”

The idea of The PlayRoom is not a new one for Gillespie and local artists; the South Surrey resident first held a similar event called INvision in 2012 to celebrate and raise money for the creation of the Eagle’s Nest labyrinth in Kwomais Point Park.

The event was well-received by the arts community, so when Gillespie – who is currently working on writing a few plays – had some ideas she wanted to share with others, a resurrection seemed only natural.

“There just aren’t that many places to play on the Peninsula,” she said. “So I thought, why not use the PlayRoom idea, and art space, which seems to be a great place to do it. Maybe this is the time to get it going again.”

The response so far, despite the first gathering being held just last week, has been quite positive, Gillespie said, noting she has already had inquiries about a fall session.

“There’s definitely something that is stirring people’s imaginations,” she said.

Featured artists in the coming weeks include Heidi McCurdy (March 26), Fanny Starchild (April 9), Elizabeth Carefoot (April 16), Heidi Greco (April 23), Claire Moore (April 30), Rosie Miller (May 14) and Sylvia Taylor (May 21).

Although she has a roster of well-known local artists lined up for The PlayRoom, Gillespie encouraged people of all skill and experience levels to participate.

“To me, it’s not so much a matter of numbers but that people come and they have an experience that is inspirational to them.”

To find out more, email vgplayroom@gmail.com

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