The Arts Station: A Cultural Hub

The Arts Station is a well-known and iconic landmark in downtown Fernie. Originally as a functioning train station, it was the hub of life in Fernie. Today in its second life it has become a hub for arts and culture.

The Fernie & District Arts Council made the Station its home in the 1980s when a small, but enthusiastic group, helped transform the building into an arts centre. The mission was simple; opportunities for Fernie to participate in and appreciate the value of arts and culture. This mission remains the same, however, over the years the cultural landscape has developed into an amazing and vast array of happenings, which now spill far beyond the walls of the Station, and are woven into the fabric of the community.

This spillover starts on the deck, which in summer months transforms into a stage, welcoming visiting artists to perform to crowds of 500+ people, who have all gathered in Station Square for the Wednesday Socials. The Arts Station is the backdrop for varied cultural events, including offerings from our fantastic local food trucks, craft beer by Fernie Brewing Co. and selection of BC cider and wine, vibrant live music, and visual arts, all being shared by the community in a fun and lively outdoor venue. Starting with a small crowd of fifty or sixty people in the early years, it has now grown to be a staple of the Fernie scene and draws a wide audience to enjoy great live music in a fun outdoor atmosphere.

The beauty of this hub is the mixture of people you find both inside and beyond its walls. From professionally trained artists to those picking up a paintbrush for the first time, from people who hone their skills weekly to those who dip in and out, the Arts Station provides a place to create and share ideas. All ages come to participate in events, from some of our founding members in their eighties to children as young as three experiencing live music for the first time. Locals and visitors alike, the Arts Station appeals to all. Many people do not create art themselves, but simply come to appreciate the many cultural offerings, whether a professional performer or their grandchild at their first recital. Culture engages and inspires with all who interact with it, and the Arts Station is proud to provide a place to engage and interact in our community.

The interaction continues as you wander down Fernie alleyways and side streets, and discover garbage dumpsters turned from eyesores into works of art, and up and coming next month, a 100 ft mural in Downtown Fernie. The Mural Project, which will be the culmination of 18 months of work preparing to add to the public art inventory in Fernie, will see a Basin Artist transform the side of the Beanpod building and add to the cultural landscape. Thanks to the Columbia Basin Trust for awarding a generous grant, the Fernie & District Arts Council is able to continue to cultivate the arts and culture in Fernie through this project.

Fernie’s cultural horizon is very exciting, with more and more opportunities each year to participate in, learn about, and share a passion and appreciation for arts and culture in the Kootenays. The Art Station’s focus is to continue building on its thirty-year history, providing and developing further opportunities in Fernie, and to expand into modern arts such as digital arts and media, public art, and to grow existing events to new levels. The Arts Station will always be a special part of Fernie’s history and we are proud and delighted to be a part of Fernie’s local arts and culture scene into the future.