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PICKERING — The dream of a major arts centre in west Durham is a giant step closer to being realized.
The Community Arts Centre is now truly taking shape as work begins on an exciting study that will determine the most feasible and sustainable way to take the next steps on the creation of the facility that will benefit not only the residents of Pickering, but also the residents of the entire Durham Region.
On April 29, 2010, The Durham West Arts Centre Foundation Inc. (the "Foundation") approved one of North America's leading providers of cultural and project planning services, Webb Management Services Inc. of New York City, as the cultural planning firm to undertake a Feasibility and Business Case Assessment for a Community Arts Centre in the City of Pickering.
Founded in 1997 as a management consulting practice for the development and operation of cultural facilities, Webb Management has completed more than 240 assignments with clients that include local governments, colleges and universities, nonprofit arts organizations, development agencies and other entities exploring cultural development. Their mission is to support the creative process with sound planning and services that lead to sustainable cultural and community development. Although based in New York City, Webb Management has an extensive international practice that includes many Canadian cultural projects. Their principal who will be leading the Foundation's project, Duncan M. Webb, has lived, worked and studied in various parts of Canada. More specifically, he was born and raised in Toronto and remains connected to its cultural vitality.
The Foundation is affiliated with, but operates separately from, the Durham West Arts Centre, Inc. ("DWAC"). The Foundation's mandate is to organize, plan, design, fundraise, tender, contract for, and build, a performing and visual arts centre in the western part of Durham Region, for the benefit of the citizens and arts community in Durham Region. DWAC, on the other hand, provides ongoing arts programming, in aid of furthering excellence, interest, niche identification, and audience in the arts even before the new Community Arts Centre comes into being.
The following individuals represent the Foundation Board:
Honorary Chair, Mayor David Ryan
Leading up to the awarding of the Feasibility and Business Case Assessment project to Webb Management, the Foundation has been working on visioning and planning for the proposed Community Arts Centre through extensive research, facility visits and discussions with Durham-based artists and future patrons. A few preliminary considerations identified by the Foundation for the Community Arts Centre would be to build a centre with world-class acoustics, sight lines and seating comfort in a multi-use facility, as well as develop space for art workshops, media arts, and corporate and community events. The Foundation will build an "iconic" building design that is adaptable, inviting, durable and convertible for a wide variety of performances, displays, banquets and uses. It will be a "green" facility incorporating the latest sustainable and environmental features and design.
There is currently no multi-use regional-scale performing or visual arts facility located in west Durham Region to support and attract regular performances and exhibitions of national and international significance. With approximately 3.8 million people residing within 50 kilometres of Pickering's downtown, the time to establish this type of facility is now.
As the Foundation moves forward on this exciting new phase, they would like to encourage any artists, residents and future patrons to share any of their comments or input on this project with them. For more information about the Foundation, please visit our website at www.dwacfoundation.ca.
Layout and Design by Mary Cook
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