Donating to Bez Arts Hub’s Indiegogo campaign with a goal of matching a sizable grant from Creative BC, is an investment in arts in the community.
So says Sandy Rosen, who along with husband Russ owns and operates the 2,000 square foot live performance and community arts centre in Willoughby.
“To date, Langley has been for lack of live performance spaces for the arts,” Sandy said. “We actually are one of the only ones (facilities) that is not a school, or a pub, or a church. I would encourage people: if you value the arts and if you want to see live arts happening here, you would want to support this venue.”
Over the summer, Bez received a Creative BC grant for $55,000 for the development of the studio as a live performance venue.
“We’re pretty excited about it all — it is a grant that needs to be matched, so we’ve launched an IndiieGogo campaign and are looking for community supporters,” said Sandy, who is also Bez’s creative director.
“What Creative BC was looking for was live music venues — places where they could continue to promote live music in B.C.,” Sandy said. “And so we put in a proposal for the development of this as a live performance space and specifically that we’d be able to increase our numbers.”
The goal is to outfit and renovate the facility so that it’s ready for concerts, dance productions, film showings, theatre performances, and art exhibits.
The couple has reworked the facility into a blackbox theatre, initially installing sprung floors and opening up the room to be an adaptable space for a myriad of diverse arts functions. The Rosens’ next steps have been to outfit the space with curtains, theatre lighting, a sound system, staging and seating, projection/screen and renovations that will increase the facility’s capacity from 59 patrons to 100.
This is very much a labour of love for the Rosens, according to Sandy.
“Oh no,” Sandy said with a hearty laugh, when asked if Bez is a money-making venture. “As a matter of fact, anything that we’ve done thus far, it has only been a very to the wire. We aren’t here to make a profit on this, we’re here to see the arts happen.”
Bez Arts Hub — 102 20230 64 Ave. — opened in the spring and hosts intimate concerts, dance productions, film nights, community dances and more.
The Rosens’ goal is to provide a venue for original, local artists as well as bringing in “tried and true” touring acts.
One of those acts scheduled to showcased in the new year is iconic Canadian singer/songwriter Shari Ulrich. The Juno Award-winning artist is slated to perform at Bez on Feb. 9 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Russ recently returned to Langley after a nearly month-long tour performing Christmas Tales, a family-production involving three musicians and a storyteller.
Bez hosts Christmas Tales Dec. 19, 20, and 21 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. each night.
For more on Bez Arts Hub, the Christmas Tales show, and to link to the Indiegogo page, and Bez Arts Hub, visit www.bezartshub.com.