The Baggage Building Arts Centre

June 2017

Nestled in the picture perfect landscape of Marina Park, the Baggage Building Arts Centre provides an inspired location for the creative soul. Across the street from the infamous water fountains of the splash pad, the building is surrounded by natural beauty such as gardens, inspirational poetry and quotations, lakeside vignettes, and art installations. As you open the doors you are treated to something new daily. Within in the space, visitors are treated to a spectacular variety of art work in the gallery and gift shop, but more often than not guests are invited to participate in classes from sewing to painting, pottery to dance, print making to theatre. Classes and workshops for every age group are offered daily, weekly and seasonally with new ideas added spontaneously in-between. A calendar of events greets visitors as they arrive.

Explore the building on its ground floor and you will find the active pottery and ceramics studio. With shelves filled with projects in progress, visitors can imagine themselves building such beautiful creations. Often giggles and celebration squeals echo from the studio as you peek through the windows to see the action of students and their teacher. This is a happy space that balances the rhythm of social conversation and focused concentration. Throughout the seasons beginners are welcome to join a variety of classes while more experienced potters can rent the studio.

Before you reach the pottery studio, you will pass the newest project space in the building, the printmaking area. In the fall of 2016, the Baggage Building Art Centre acquired a press from the estate of Alison Kendall. Alison was a well known artist, visual arts instructor at Lakehead University and a print-maker. Her large etching press has been added to a dedicated studio with tools, inks and enough space to learn and create. The community is invited to participate in workshops by local print-makers. Print techniques such as non-toxic etching and intaglio processes, monoprint and monotype, serigraphy (silkscreen), kitchen lithography, relief based printmaking and photo etch are offered to all ages. More experienced print-makers may rent the space as a studio for their projects.
Often family events are offered by the artists of the Baggage Building Arts Centre to introduce new skills, celebrate holidays or bring the community together. From sewing to painting, snow sculpture to puppetry, families are encouraged to spend time together and be creative.

Along with these expressions of visual arts to share, The Baggage Building Arts Centre boasts performance arts as well. Dance, puppetry, a youth theatre company and music fill the space. Stroll upstairs and past the gift gallery, visitors will find an open rehearsal space shared by several community groups and artists. Take a peek to see puppets being built or performing. It may be possible as you arrive to view youth actors rehearse their latest production. Another day could bring instrumental delights of musicians or dancers tangoing in the space. Guests are welcome to become an impromptu audience for these moments.
Everyone must visit the gift gallery before they leave the building. Walk slowly to view each of the hundreds of exquisite, unique and local pieces. Many of the artists featured in the gift gallery are also the instructors of the classes offered. Viewing their work is often a glimpse into the possibilities waiting for you to explore as a student. The inventory changes often and many more artists are added each month. Gift giving has never been easier for those individuals that appreciate local culture and beauty.

This building is a gathering space for artists of every discipline and skill level to share their work with the community. It is a welcoming home to showcase local artists, their work and their ability to teach and mentor others. As a resident or visitor to Thunder Bay, The Baggage Building Arts Centre must be appreciated.

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