The Salt Spring Arts Council (SSAC) is a charitable society serving residents of Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada.
Salt Spring is known around the globe for its arts tourism and its population of diverse and talented artists. The Arts Council supports and promotes the arts through education, events, partnership and advocacy in the Applied, Literary, Media, Performing and Visual Arts.
It operates a successful gallery and provides arts funding to community groups, students and emerging and established arts practitioners.
The Salt Spring Arts Council has supported the arts and artists on the Gulf islands since its establishment in 1970. But its beginnings as the Gulf Islands Arts Council and subsequently the Salt Spring Community Arts Council some years earlier marked the start of an organization dedicated to promoting artists and their work, to enhancing the education of artists and others and to facilitating the needs of the arts community.
The Salt Spring Arts Council is the gateway to the arts on Salt Spring Island, one of Canada’s unique and leading artistic communities.
The Salt Spring Arts Council celebrates and promotes a diversity of arts as a vital part of a healthy and creative community on Salt Spring Island. The Council’s leadership creates opportunities for growth through education, cooperation, connection and advocacy.
Our Board is comprised of community members elected annually by the membership. Each brings professional experience in a variety of fields along with a keen interest in and support for the arts. The Board meets monthly to set policy, review ongoing and proposed arts initiatives and to monitor progress on activities currently underway.
Our galleries showcase the work of a variety of local artists and craftspeople. We attract residents and tourists to the many activities we sponsor in historic Mahon Hall in downtown Ganges.
Established as the Gulf Islands Community Arts Council (GICAC) in 1968 and registered as a society under the BC Society’s Act in 1970, the name Salt Spring Arts Council was adopted in 2006 when the other Southern Gulf Islands were regrouped under the Tricomali Community Arts Council. The current SSAC visual identity was also adopted in November 2006.
While Salt Spring Island (SSI) has long been the home to many artists (visual, literary and performing) and artisans, the artistic community and its resources have evolved over time. So too has the understanding of the community about the importance of the arts to the social, cultural and economic health of the island.
The Gulf Islands Community Arts Council (GICAC) formed the Island Arts Centre Society in conjunction with local visual and performing artists and artisans and the Salt Spring Island Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission (PARC)in 1989. The Island Arts Centre Society undertook the construction of the ArtSpring, a performing arts facility which opened in 1999. ArtSpring is an 11,800 square-foot, two-level heavy timber structure with a 5,200-square-foot exhibition/ multi- purpose area and a 6,600-square-foot, 265-seat theatre.
In 2003 the Arts Council sealed an agreement with School District 64 for a 30 year lease for Mahon Memorial Hall, an historic building which first opened in 1904 as the Salt Spring Island Agricultural Hall. The Community Arts Council (then GICAC) pledged to ensure preservation and successful operation of Mahon Hall to the overall benefit of the Salt Spring community, recognizing the historic importance of the arts in using and maintaining the hall.