North Langley’s 31-year-old Neighbourhood Art Studios, started by local entrepreneur Robert Barrett in 1991, now has a new owner and location.
The decades-old business was sold earlier this month, but finding someone who could carry on Barrett’s legacy wasn’t easy. In fact, it took Barrett more than two years to find a worthy person and pass the baton.
His quest started in 2020, when Barrett decided to retire.
During that time, he received offers from China, India, and around the world – even local entrepreneurs showed interest. But “not one of them was anywhere near capable of doing what has to be done in taking over this studio,” said Barrett.
“It’s going to take someone with love, someone with the love of art, someone with the love of children and adults, and, of course, someone with the love of God that’s going to take it the next 31 years,” he explained.
“We have a great legacy as our studio has served a lot of people,” Barrett boasted.
After two years of waiting, the much-awaited moment came, and his search ended when one of Barrett’s own former students approached him – Marguerite Bouchard, a local artist.
Bouchard had everything Barrett was looking for in an artist and entrepreneur.
The decision was finally made, but since the lease was up, the two agreed to move the studio from Walnut Grove to Willoughby.
In a private ceremony at Willoughby Town Centre, Barrett handed Bouchard a big artists’ paintbrush to symbolize the transfer of the studio’s leadership mantle.
The facility now has a new name – Epiphany Neighbourhood Art Studios.
When deciding what to call her new venture, Bouchard recalled that Epiphany 2020 was the title of her last exhibit of 20 paintings. She knew in that ‘aha’ moment that Epiphany was an ideal name for the art school.
“The word epiphany suggests awakening, revelation, and discovery, which can happen while creating art and viewing others’ art. In both instances, deep connections can be made and give life more meaning,” Bouchard explained.
She’s thankful to Barrett for trusting her to take the art school to the next level and to make lessons accessible to many more people of all ages throughout the local area for decades to come.
“Like Bob, I want to share my passion for art with the community. I’m thrilled to be in this location, right in the heart of Willoughby, with hundreds of families around here. I look forward to serving generations to come and drawing people to a place where they can access their own soul, their own Maker, be inspired, make great creations and enjoy health. We all need mental health, spiritual health, and physical health, and we are going to thrive,” she said.
The new art school will continue Neighbourhood Art Studio’s legacy of teaching classical art techniques and post-secondary portfolio preparation and will also offer diverse visual art courses, such as 3D collage, as well as special events like paint nights and birthday parties.
Classical drawing and painting classes, as well as a variety of specialty courses, will be offered for students of all ages for eight weeks starting on October 24th.
For more details, people can visit theartschool.com or email Marguerite Bouchard at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-455-0344. The new art space is located at #215, Willoughby Professional Building, 20780 Willoughby Town Centre Dr., Langley.