The Arts Centre at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre officially opens with the Carnival of the Arts this September, but the finishing touches are being applied now.
Carole Ireland, manager of the centre, calls the 7,000-square-foot arts wing “gorgeous.”
The final painting, cabinetry and lighting elements were being applied this week.
“The outside fits beautifully with the landscape and the original structure,” Ireland said.
“The landscaping is coming along and the spaces themselves are bright and airy and inviting. It’s marvellous.”
Through the month of August, children’s day camps will begin in the space, and the public can check out artist Rick Silas on site (excluding Aug. 9-18), as he etches a mural of British Columbia into a glass panel wall at the entrance of the centre.
Called Forest Edge, the mural will take approximately 200 hours, in a project that “couldn’t be greener,” Silas said.
He generally uses his diamond etching tools on recycled tempered glass but, in this case, he didn’t see the need.
“I realized they had all the glass, so I might as well use it,” Silas said, showing his enthusiasm for sharing his art with the public.
Among the new tenants moving into the centre is the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria – an organization aimed at broadening public awareness and opportunities in artistic and cultural activities. They already have their boxes in storage, ready to be unpacked at the centre later this summer.
“We’d like a place for artists to meet, some studio space, some space to do workshops and meetings, and a gallery. And when we were talking to Saanich, we realized they had everything,” said Bob Williams, Community Arts Council president.
Some of the organization’s plans for the more “high profile” space, Williams said, include professional development workshops for artists around the business of art – including how to file tax returns – as well as a speaker series of interest to both artists and audiences.
The Community Arts Council will take on the role of managing the art gallery in the new building.
They are also in the process of reviewing all of their programming, to try to provide services to the full spectrum of arts – a goal made more possible by the range of spaces available in the new facility.
Among other new services coming to the centre, the Arts Calibre Academy will be setting up an art space pre-school.
The private business delivers pre-school curriculum through the arts: music, dance, visual arts, spoken word and poetry.
Adjacent to the pre-school sits another unique element: a new rubber safety surface playground, bought from a Tire Stewardship B.C. grant and made 100 per cent from recycled tires.
The federal and provincial governments each contributed approximately $1.33 million to the arts centre through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund.
Saanich covered the remaining costs, totalling $5 million.