a.m., Nov. 11)
arts facility the centre of attention at FestivArts event
By Fred Sherwin
of the Cross Town Youth chorus perform at this year's FestivArts event at
Place d'Orléans last Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo
doesn't begin until next spring, but the prospect of a new community arts
facility serving the entire east end was on everybody's lips at this year's
FestivArts celebration at Place d'Orléans last Saturday.
The $36.8 million
Orléans Arts Centre will be built right next to the old Cumberland Town
Hall on Centrum Blvd. Construction is likely to take about 18 months which
means it won't be open until the fall of 2008.
is fine for east end artists who have been pushing for an arts centre in
the east end for the past 20 years.
worth the wait," says Gloucester Pottery School president Rosemary
Swan. "When you talk about the fact that they're going to put a shovel
in the ground next spring, it kind of gives you goosebumps."
The pottery school
has been operating in rather cramped quarters in the basement of the Cyrville
Community Centre for several years now and they have an ongoing waiting
list for new members.
a lot more space and we'll be able to expand our programs. It's also going
to allow access for students with mobility issues," says Swan.
able to get information about the many arts programs being offered in the
east end, visitors to this year's FestivArts were able to see drawings of
the soon-to-be-built Arts Centre for the first time as well as a blueprint
of the interior layout including the 500 seat performing arts theatre.
Arts Ottawa East
representative Micheline Joanisse says the buzz around the display has been
nothing but positive.
are really excited about it," says Joanisse. "The neat the thing
is you get teenagers who come up and look at the drawings and get excited
about it and you have senior citizens talking about it... It really shows
that the centre will be used by the entire community and not just one segment
of the community. It's for everybody."
One of the worries
in the design process for the new arts centre was over whether too much
emphasis would be place on the needs of the performing artists and not enough
attention would be given to the unique requirements of visual artists, but
Visual Arts Centre Orléans executive director Yvonne Wiegers says the visual
arts community has been well looked after in the final design.
"A lot of
people think that it's all about space, which it is important, but you also
need a lot of other things to make it safe, like eye wash stations and special
storage space for some of the materials," says Wiegers.
Besides a large
art studio, the new art centre will also have a print-making studio which
the east end has never had before.
The Visual Arts
Centre is already deeply involved in the process of trying to figure out
which programs to offer when they move into the new facility. Some of the
decisions will be based on current demand and limited surveys and other
decisions will have to wait until they've already moved and can get a better
handle on how the new quarters will impact on demand and they're own ability
to offer new and different courses.
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