Provincial funding for arts centre to be announced next week

Diane Crocker
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New facility to be houses in Corner Brook City Hall

When Dave Smallwood hit “post” on a Facebook message on the Rotary Arts Centre’s page late Thursday morning, it came with a great sense of accomplishment.

Smallwood, chairman of the Corner Brook Arts Centre Association, took to the social networking site to announce the association has reached its funding goals for the centre.

“Premier Tom Marshall will be in town next Wednesday to announce the province’s contributions,” Smallwood wrote in the posting.

 “It’s been a lot of work by a lot of people,” he added, when reached by phone later.

The concept of the Rotary Arts Centre is something the association has been working on for more than five years.

“Really, up until November 2012 we were very much waffling around trying to find a place, figuring how we’d do it,” Smallwood said.

Then the City of Corner Brook came on board and the association entered into an agreement with the city to lease space on the first floor of city hall.

“That’s when things really started to work,” said Smallwood.

Since then, the association has been working on securing funding to make the facility a reality.

However, he wouldn’t reveal just how much the province will provide.

“Let the premier do that,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t want to steal all of his thunder, for sure.”

Meeting objectives

He’s confident the money from the province and from federal funding agencies will be enough to do what the association wants with the space.

Smallwood said the total cost to prepare the facility will be about $900,000.

“That will be from the way it is now, from sort of an unfinished basement, to what it is we want to create there,” he said.

The plan calls for a performance space, with seating for about 100, an art gallery named in honour of Tina Dolter, studio space for emerging artists, rehearsal space, and workshop and classroom space.

“It’s certainly going to be a fairly comprehensive facility,” said Smallwood, adding that the exact configuration is in the process of being determined by the project’s architects.

“We hired Atlantic Engineering to do the drawings and the construction details for us and they’ve brought in John Hearn, who’s the original architect in the building. He looked at what we had planned, and said, ‘I think I might be able to modify this to your advantage.’”

Smallwood hopes to have something to display at next week’s funding announcement.

The event will take place in the Hutchings Room at Corner Brook City Hall. The details on the time will be announced in the next few days.

Smallwood said if all goes well, construction in the space should start by April and the association is aiming for a July opening.

The Western Star

Organizations: Corner Brook Arts Centre Association, Rotary Arts Centre, Atlantic Engineering

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Western Star

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