Recent History – 2002
June 19, 2002
By Jamie Dirom, Daily News Staff
The Kiwanis Arts Centre will have a new lease on life when the Kiwanis Arts Centre Board signs a new lease agreement with Peace River South School District in the coming days.
The deal will make the arts centre board the operators of the school district-owned Grandview facility, which formerly housed the district’s alternative secondary school program. In mid-April, it became apparent that funding for the facility would be cut in order for the school district to present a balanced budget after the province’s education cuts.
The lease agreement, given the OK by school trustees at their June 12 meeting, will lease the building to the arts board for five dollars a year.
“The school board has been incredibly supportive of this change and they’ve really gone out of their way to support us,” said arts centre board treasurer Ellen Corea.
School district secretary-treasurer Cathy Esselink said while the district won’t be making money from the lease, the agreement will save money because the district will no longer be responsible for operating costs or day-to-day maintenance of the facility.
The arts board has operated in a portion of the building for a number of years now, offering a variety of programs, but the added responsibility of managing the entire site will be a new challenge, and the arts centre board is looking at it as just that.
Corea said the discontinuation of the arts funding was initially seen as bad news, but the board now sees it as an opportunity to expand services at the facility.
“It’s exciting,” she said.
In addition to the existing arts centre and other groups that operate from the building, such as the local karate school, there are plans to create a new daycare there. There is also a desire to develop another dance studio.
“There’s been a real call in the community for expanded dance programs,” Corea said.
While operating the facility will give the arts centre board the freedom to expand existing programs and add new ones, the modified relationship with the school district will change the way it raises money.
The school district will continue to use some arts programming at the centre, but has discontinued funding for some of the programs it had previously funded, such as the arts festival.
Corea said that means the board will need to look to the community for funding, as well as through its usual avenues such as registration fees for the programs it offers.
But if the support the board has received since the school district’s budget was unveiled is any indication, the community is more than willing to get behind the centre and support it.
“We’ve had a lot of support from the community saying they would like to see the art centre continue to run,” Corea said.
The fundraising will be starting soon. The arts centre board takes over the facility July 1, and the first fundraiser will be a showing of Casablanca July 3, at Center Cinema.
The screening will be using original reels of the 1942 classic, and attendees are encouraged to dress in period costumes.
“It will be an event,” Corea said.