The Wells Community, BC


Nestled in the foothills of the Cariboo Mountains in the central interior of BC, Wells offers a a decidedly non-urban environment in which to immerse yourself in your artistic practice (there is no cellular service, but there is high speed internet). In the 1930s Wells was a bustling gold mining town with two major hard rock mines operating and a population of 3000, and while there is still some active gold mines and placer operations in the area, Wells has shrunk to a population of 250 with arts and culture being a big part of the economy. There are art galleries, the historic Sunset Theatre the Wells Hotel and Pub and a handful of restaurants and shops. Just 8kms down the road is Barkerville Historic Town, which draws over 50,000 people each season (May – September) and features actors dressed in period costume interpreting the 1860s gold rush. The world famous Bowron Chain of Lakes, a very popular canoe circuit is 30km from Wells.


To get to Wells you can take Greyhound or fly via Air Canada to Quesnel (1 hour away), or fly via Westjet or Air Canada to Prince George (2.5 hours away) and rent a car. There is no public transport to Wells, but we can help arrange a pick up for you in Quesnel. Once you get to Wells you do not need a car to get around, everything is walkable. Wells sits where five valleys meet and is at 4000 feet above sea level so the weather can be unpredictable. We get lots of snow in the winter and a mix of all seasons in the summer. There are great trails to hike and bike, and in the winter lots of cross-country trails and back country.


Island Mountain Arts (IMA) has been operating in Wells since 1977. The goal of the organization has been to serve Northern, BC with world-class arts presentation and training, all the while showcasing the historically and geographically unique area of Wells & Barkerville. The organization also operates a Public Gallery, Annual School of the Arts, as well as producing the acclaimed ArtsWells Festival of All Things Art, now in it 12th year. In 2014 Island Mountain Arts moved forward on a purchase of a 4000 sq. ft. building to facilitate a new artist-in-residence retreat.