The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, near Canning, has announced Building the Future, a revitalisation campaign of $2.2 million, including a facilities upgrade.
Executive director Chris O’Neill said she was thrilled that the organisation has already reached half of the total support needed from its public partners at three levels of government, and is excited to work with the community to meet its goal.
Building the Future was launched at the centre with remarks by Halifax MP Andy Fillmore, who is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.
“Through Nova Scotia’s Culture Action Plan, we are making important investments in our communities,” added Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Leo Glavine.
“The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts promotes creativity and inclusion, serves as a cultural hub for the community and provides development opportunities for youth,” Glavine said, “especially through its outstanding school-based programs. Facility upgrades will allow the centre to continue with important programming for hopefully many years to come.”
“Ross Creek Centre for the Arts is an important community gathering place in our local communities, as well as being an important piece of our tourism offering,” said Kings County Mayor Peter Muttart. “We’re pleased to participate in the support for the renovations and administrative development to maintain the Centre’s role in our community, and its ability to attract interest from other parts of Nova Scotia and far beyond.”
The centre is part of the registered charity, CoastArts Association, along with its professional theatre in residence, Two Planks and a Passion Theatre.
O’Neill says that almost 20 years into its existence, the programs have evolved and grown. She noted how vital it is to keep the facilities current for the various communities and artists served by Ross Creek, while also recognising the challenges of climate change and the need for long term sustainability in every arena of its work.
At the launch, O’Neill outlined the impacts of the centre’s programs in arts education for all ages, multicultural community outreach, international artist residencies, professional development and community-building through and in the arts.
“We are so happy that our public partners in the Building the Future project recognise the role that Ross Creek plays in cultural and social fabric of the county, the province and the nation,” she said. “Ross Creek, in its very rural community can be a vital hub precisely because what we offer is programming on par with any city, and also this spectacular landscape. It is time at Ross Creek to reinvest in making sure the facilities and the programs can continue to thrive and serve for the next 100 years, both organisationally, and through sustainable building.”
Some of the planned improvements include: upgrading the administrative structure, the original farmhouse and cabin accommodations for visiting artists; enhancements to the performing arts facilities, and public areas of the centre, improving the box office, arts tools and studios; service equipment and grounds including building additional trails on the 178-acre property.
There will also be environmental improvements to reduce operating costs and lessen environmental impact, said O’Neill, including the installation of a generator; improvements to the centre’s energy efficiency; installation and grid-tying of solar panels; as well as upgrades to the garden, farm, and kitchen facilities.
This initial funding was made possible thanks to the Canada Cultural Spaces fund and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund. Additional funding has been supplied by Efficiency NS, NS Labour and Advanced Education, ECO Canada, and many others, along with in kind support from the Dalhousie School of Architecture and the Nova Scotia Community College’s Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology program.
O’Neill noted, “We are here today because it is almost 30 years since Ken Schwartz and I founded the organization with a team of volunteers, and almost 20 since our umbrella, the CoastArts Association, purchased this property, which was a cattle farm.
The duo had in mind, “building an international arts education, research and development centre to serve our local, national and world communities. It seems unlikely now, and seemed much more so then, when it was a working farm.”
The board and staff leadership are developing plans for a capital campaign to raise the remaining funds, which will be announced later this year.
GO ONLINE: For more information visit: www.artscentre.ca/building-the-future.