Encana, United Way lend a helping hand to Art Gallery renos in the Bintop

Volunteers from Encana and United Way Northern BC were busy today helping those at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery renovate the bintop studio at the top of the gallery.

About 15 Encana employees — a mix of locals and a few having flown in from Calgary to help — were on site, cleaning up the studio, taking loads of storage from the Bintop up and down the stairs — three truckloads reportedly — before applying coats of white paint on the formerly blue walls of the studio.

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“It would take us weeks to do it [ourselves], trying to do something like this off the side of our desk is almost impossible,” said Gallery Executive Director Marsha Stewart.

“Our volunteers and society members already do so much for us, so it’s nice to have the partnership with a big corporation like Encana and United Way in order to be able to get a big job like this done.”

Encana was brought into help as part of the United Way “Day of Caring” program, which lets corporate partners volunteer with non-profits in a big way.

“Days of Caring is a great volunteer opportunity for the corporate to connect with the non-profits, because we know non-profits are short on staff, tight on their budgets, so this a good way for the non-profits and corporates to connect and have them out on some project that’s a bigger task to do with their own staff,” said Mahvish Parvez, United Way Northern BC campaign officer for the Northeast.

“It’s exciting to see how much they got accomplished in a day.”

Encana has supported the Gallery financially, providing grants that help go towards their education programs and exhibitions.

“Without that sort of corporate sponsorship, we wouldn’t be able to offer the variety of programs that we do,” Stewart said.

But today was about getting their hands dirty, and lending a hand to a big job.

“Everybody’s chipping in,” said Brian Lieverse, community relations advisor for Encana, picking up a paintbrush himself. “The idea’s to come out help a group that we do support financially throughout the year, but today’s all about putting our hands on shovels and paintbrushes and doing some work here.

“If organizations like this had to hire somebody to do the work that we had done, it would cost them a lot of money. A lot of these organizations run on very minimal budgets, so by having an opportunity to come and help out, it’s great to give back to the community.”

Encana and United Way weren’t the only ones to help out. Paint was donated by Co-op through their Communities in Full Colour grant, Lake View Credit Union donated $5,000 of funds from their Community Social Responsibility Fund program towards the renovation to name a few.

While there’s still work to be done, including shelving — they’re re-opening the space after Easter — the difference was immense, as coats of fresh paint went on the walls.

“We cleaned out years and years of storage and some supplies that we weren’t ever using anymore, made lots of space for new supplies and they just worked hard all day long,” said Stewart.

Some of those supplies that are no longer being used will be part of a yard sale that will be held in May by the Gallery.

“That saying that many hands make light work — that was actually proven today,” said Stewart.


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