Anticipation Builds as new Community Arts Centre Takes Shape
Anticipation Builds as new Community Arts Centre Takes Shape

June 29, 2012

- U of L Announces $650,000 to support Conservatory of Music

- Project on budget and on schedule to open May 2013

Elected representatives, funding partners and some local arts community members got a close-up look at the new Community Arts Centre on Friday, June 29.

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Some of the Conservatory of Music team check out their new space. Left to right: Lottie Austin, Music in the Making Campaign co-chair; Deanna Oye; Breeanne Fuller; Peggy Mezei; Margot O'Donnell.

With construction on time, on budget and now halfway to completion, the City of Lethbridge held a briefing and tour of the $20.7-million facility for federal, provincial and municipal officials.

Also present were local artists and representatives of the Allied Arts Council as well as the University of Lethbridge and its Conservatory of Music, which will be a major tenant when the Community Arts Centre opens in May, 2013.

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A second level open hallway leads to music and dance studios

Support for the U of L Music Conservatory’s move to the downtown location has been overwhelmingly positive, and is natural extension of an already-productive City/University partnership, according to U of L President Mike Mahon.

“The City of Lethbridge and the University of Lethbridge have a long history of partnering together to improve the personal well-being of individuals and families, and to enhance the quality of life in local and regional communities,” Mahon said.

“We are excited to be a key tenant in the new Community Arts Centre as we work with other members of the southern Alberta community to improve access to the arts in our community.”

Mahon said that community support was critical to the extremely successful conclusion of the “Music in the Making” campaign, launched last year to support the Conservatory’s move downtown.

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The main recital hall space in the building

“We set a goal of $500,000, and I am pleased to say that we exceeded it by more than $150,000. Our volunteers and Lottie Austin and George Evelyn, who co-chaired this campaign, have good reason to be proud of the future opportunities their work will provide to current and future Conservatory students.”

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A large multi-purpose room on the main floor

Funded by the Building Canada Fund – Community Components (BCF-CC) program, Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), and the City of Lethbridge, the Community Arts Centre will serve as a local arts education hub and become the new off-campus home of the University’s music conservatory.

In addition, an enhancement to the south-east entrance plaza area is being undertaken by the Rotary Club of Lethbridge.

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The southeast plaza will contain multi-purpose programming space and landscaping enhancements funded by the Rotary Club of Lethbridge. The large black squares are plastic cubes being installed as part of a water drainage system.

“Today’s tour highlights the Government of Canada’s commitment to creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity,” said Jim Hillyer, Member of Parliament for Lethbridge, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.

“Once completed, this project will further strengthen our city’s creative community, while providing new opportunities for residents and visitors to experience Lethbridge’s cultural attractions.”

The public will have access to 38,000 square feet of programming space for community arts education. The centre will include: an exhibition gallery and prep space; 2D and 3D classrooms and studios; a kiln room, a 3D technical room and woodworking shop; a textile studio; a dance studio; a music theatre and music rehearsal studio; dressing rooms; meeting rooms; administration office space; multipurpose rehearsal space; U of L Conservatory Music classrooms and practice rooms.

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The main entrance zone

”I’ve often said Lethbridge has an arts and cultural community that is the envy of cities twice its size,” said Lethbridge West MLA Greg Weadick, who attended on behalf of Alberta Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk.

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The west side entrance

“This facility will be not only a great hub for the arts scene but also a major attraction for people looking to Lethbridge as a place to raise their family. And the partnership with the U of L is the icing on the cake.”

The facility will be used seven days a week, year round with programs occurring days, evenings and on weekends. The Allied Arts Council will manage the centre on behalf of the City.

“This facility will provide a venue for the local arts community, from beginners to established artists, to learn and develop,” said Mayor Rajko Dodic.

“In addition to meeting the needs of our growing community, this facility is also a major step forward in creating a walkable arts corridor in the heart of our city. Undoubtedly, it will enhance the overall vibrancy of our city.”

The Canada-Alberta Building Canada Fund – Communities Component (BCF-CC) program is a partnership among the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Over the program’s life, the BCF-CC program directed at least $420 million in federal, provincial and municipal funding to enhance municipal infrastructure and improve Albertan’s quality of life through investments that support long-term economic growth and protect the environment.

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Exposed beam ceiling detail on the second floor

Learn more about the project at this website:

University of Lethbridge Conservatory of Music:

U of L Communications and Public Relations Contact:
Communications and PR Officer (403) 382-7173

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