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Delta throwback: Where older adults mingled with 'hippy-types'

A group of seven artists turned the old church into an art centre
Pictured in the central floor area is Holly Agnew, working on a belt for a purse she made in a weaving course, while instructors Gale Price and Judy McAlpine chat in the background.

Let’s take a step back to the spring of 1972 when a former church in Ladner became home to a new art centre.

Located at the corner of 47A Avenue at Delta Street, the former Ladner Baptist Church became a hub for artists offering courses in arts and crafts, such as pottery, photography, weaving, batik, macrame, candle making, leather craft, children’s theatre and musical appreciation.

An article in the Optimist that summer noted “the relaxing atmosphere” helped cross the generational gap “so that older people can work in the same room with ‘hippy-types’ of young people and not feel any apprehension.”

The article also noted the Old Church Arts Centre also taught a group of approximately 25 emotionally disturbed children brought to Ladner by the Children’s Aid Society of Vancouver.

A group of instructors got the project going thanks to a grant from the Local Initiatives Program and donations by Delta residents.

Decades later, the former church is now home to the Optimist newspaper.