20 years ago, the founders of the Fernie Art Co-op were inspired by the amount of local art being produced which didn’t have a venue to showcase the work. A decision was made to search for a venue from which the could promote local art . The first location was the old library/Mugshots building, and it was a great success – so much so that it was decided to rent a larger building (where Rooftop roasters currently resides). Barb Kosiec was instrumental in acquiring the legal status necessary in order to become a full-fledged cooperative. After a few years at the second location, the co-op moved to an even larger space, the current location on 2nd Ave. next to Polar Peak Books. Many upgrades to the current venue have been made, including an installation of gallery lighting and functional slat walls which has created a warm and welcoming environment that visitors from around the world enjoy. Presently the Fernie Arts Co-op has a membership of 45 emerging and professional artists, with 25 of those being working members, and 17 consignees. Over the past 20 years there have been approximately 100 different artists showcasing their work.
The Fernie Art Co-op is always interested in looking at the work of new artists that would like to join as well. Moving forward, they hope to continue their mandate of providing a venue for local artists to exhibit and sell their work to Fernie residents and those who visit from around the world.