The Georgian Bay School for the Arts (GB Arts) was founded in 2019 by Morag Budgeon and Alan McIntosh as a Not-for-Profit, Incorporated business.
Alan and Morag both enjoyed a successful career in the arts and crafts, and recognized the need for more studios and fine arts instruction in the schools and community. The old Bingo Hall on main street Owen Sound was an empty box waiting for some love and restoration, and the perfect location and size for multiple studios.
Utilizing friends and family, sweat equity and supported by community donations from private donors, decommissioned schools and community centers, this trash phoenix rose from the wet moldy, crumbling ashes and opened its doors mere months before the global pandemic. Starting a business during world chaos was challenging, but employing hard work and determination, GB Arts has grown into a cultural hub serving Grey Bruce and beyond.
Our primary focus is on learning and education in arts and fine crafts. The 6500 sq. ft. open space has fully equipped studios in jewellery, pottery, printmaking, and stained glass with a swing space to host less equipment-centric classes like painting and textiles. We offer single day or multi day classes for adults, children and community groups and open studio time for newly educated and professional artists. The majority of our instructors are local, providing an opportunity to impart their knowledge while being paid a fair wage, equivalent to their professional skills. We are focused on bringing an expanded art and fine craft experience to our rural area, something often only available in larger cities and communities.
As an added revenue stream for GB Arts, and a way to broaden our profile, we have opened The Palette Café, a popular coffee and licensed lunch spot. Proceeds from this social enterprise are directly invested into the school.
GB Arts continues to grow and flourish. With help from Community Foundation Grey Bruce, RTO7, Bruce Grey Simcoe and the Ontario and Federal Government we continue to improve our bricks and mortar and digital presence. We look forward to adding residency spots, studio spaces, enhanced children and youth programing, a gallery and retail store.
There is still so much room to grow and flourish! GB Arts is here to stay.