O’Keefe looks to diversify

The historic site in Spallumcheen is pursuing financial grants for the Red Barn

O’Keefe Ranch is pitching a new concept for long-term stability.

The historic site in Spallumcheen is pursuing financial grants for the Red Barn, a project that would promote creative art and lost trades skills.

“It will give us an opportunity to do programs and events year-round,” said Glen Taylor, general manager.

“We want to create a sustainable environment at the ranch through other activities.”

The Red Barn would be a physical space where artists could pursue their passion while others learn to embrace trades that have been abandoned due to technology.

There would also be the possibility of special events and partnering with First Nations.

The goal is to enhance the ranch’s role as a tourism destination.

“Red Barn has been on the books since 2009 and we’ve been looking at ways to move forward,” said Taylor.

But increased focus on the proposal developed last year when artist Michelle Loughery got involved.

While the project could become reality in three years, the timeline will depend on funds.

“We have some momentum but until we are successful with applications, we don’t know where it will go,” said Taylor, who wouldn’t speculate on a project cost.

The City of Vernon, which owns the ranch, has written a letter of support to assist with grant applications.

“The ranch has a strategy to bring arts and culture to the ranch,” said Mayor Akbal Mund.

“They are not asking the city for money. This will help put Vernon on the map.”


Vernon Morning Star