Although not physically present, Canada’s Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly, delivered some great news today at Children’s Arts Umbrella Association’s (Arts Umbrella) new home on Granville Island.
She announced through a pre-recorded video that the federal government will be providing $7 million to the not-for-profit arts education centre for children and youth aged two to 21. It’s the largest single amount of funding in British Columbia in the history of the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund program, which is the Government of Canada’s cultural infrastructure program.
Founded in 1979, Arts Umbrella offers arts education in dance, theatre, music, visual arts, and digital arts to more than 20,000 young people. Each year, more than 9,000 children are able to access its program free of charge or at a reduced rate through outreach program and bursaries.
The financial support will go toward upgrading Arts Umbrella’s new facility at 1400 Johnston Street (formerly Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s South Building), which covers a 50,000-square-foot space. The renovated building will be home to seven dance studios, four theatre and music studios, eight visual, applied and media arts studios, a 160-seat professional theatre, a publicly accessible exhibition gallery, and new workshop spaces.
Award-winning architect Richard Henriquez, the founding partner of Henriquez Partners Architects, is responsible for leading the renewal of the Patkau-designed building that was built in the early 1990s.
“For close to 40 years, Arts Umbrella has worked with students of all backgrounds to develop their creativity, find their voice, and envision a more positive future for themselves and their communities,” Joly said in a press statement. “Our government is proud to support the next phase of Arts Umbrella’s growth as it moves to its new space, so that it can continue to inspire students for generations to come.
B.C.’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lisa Beare, also announced today that the provincial government will contribute an additional $1.4 million to the arts education centre.
“We are glad to partner with the federal government to support this expansion and help strength the future of British Columbia’s creative economy,” Beare said in a press statement. “This new facility means many more British Columbia kids will benefit from the terrific training which Arts Umbrella provides.”
Investment into Arts Umbrella extends beyond the different levels of government—the arts education centre officially launched a private sector capital campaign to secure an additional $20 million for this project, and has already raised more than $10 million.
“Arts Umbrella is constantly pushing boundaries. This new building will allow us to keep this forward momentum and provide young people with limitless opportunities,” said Paul Larocque, president and CEO of Arts Umbrella, in a press statement. “We are incredibly grateful to the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, and our extraordinary lead donors for their generosity in investing in the next generations of young people in our country.”
Arts Umbrella’s new home is projected to open its doors and begin programming in fall 2019.