History of the Sheep Creek Arts Council
By June Danforth
In 1958 when Archie Key, director of the Calgary Allied Arts Council, spoke at a Turner Valley Home and School meeting, he suggested that something should be done to promote local interest in the Arts. The interest was already there as was evident by the enthusiastic painters and potters in the area. Dalt Hinman took it upon himself to organize interested people. An executive was formed and before long Miss Katy Ohe was engaged to teach a painting class.
Classes were held in the local schools and the need for an Art Centre became increasingly apparent if the Council were to survive. The Turner Valley Skating Rink Committee had purchased the Calmont Cook House and moved it onto Main Street to be used as dressing rooms for the new rink. They were not using the front half of the building so Dalt approached the committee, who signed a "Charter" June 12, 1959 granting Arts Council the use of the big west room for arts and crafts. So many local volunteers worked to renovate the room that it is impossible to mention them all. Although it became known as the Arts Council Building, local artists were aware of their indebtedness to the rink committee.
A great variety of art and crafts courses were offered as well as sewing and tailoring classes, sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and taught by Mrs. Irene Leavitt, D.H.E. Many organizations including local 4-H Clubs held meetings and other activities there. The local school held an annual ice carnival to support their "Foster Child" and the Provincial Court was also held in the Arts Council Building.
Although regular meetings were held and executives elected for over fifteen years Mr. Hinman assumed responsibility for the organization of classes and maintenance of the building. When the Flare'n Derrick replaced the old rink accommodations, the council hoped at last to be able to expand their facilities to include space for pottery and weaving. However there was an element in town who failed to appreciate the possibilities and regarded the old building as an eye sore. For months the Council struggled against overwhelming odds. Finally, when they were approached by the newly formed senior citizens group, "Valley Neighbors Club" who were in dire need of a central meeting place, they decided to share the building and expenses. By joining forces the two clubs were able to overcome the opposition. In order to obtain available Government Grants it was necessary for the "Valley Neighbors Club" to have jurisdiction over the building. They agreed to provide a craft room for Arts Council use and the arrangement has worked out well for both clubs, although there is an ever increasing need for additional arts and crafts facilities.
After extensive renovations by the Valley Neighbor's Club the new craft room was christened "The Hinman Room" in honor of the Arts Council founder and Dalt Hinman was presented with a life membership, December 12, 1974.
In 1976 the executive finally obtained a charter under the Societies Act and at the annual meeting in January 1977 it was decided that Sheep Creek Arts Council would form an Historical Club to research and publish the Regional History Book, which was published as In the Light of the Flares.