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NEWS: Niagara Centre for the Arts

St. Catharines and the Niagara region is home to a good number of excellent artists and art-related spaces. Cram, the NAC and Brock University’s Rodman Hall Art Gallery (see links below) all have strong programming.

Perhaps the best-kept secret in the St. Catharines art community is the Teutloff Collection of Sculpture that exists across Brock’s campus. In 1988, then president Terry White reached an agreement with German art collector Lutz Teutloff to display his large-scale sculptures on campus. The collection includes work by Fabrizio Plessi, Ilan Averbuch, Reinhard Reitzenstein and Bucky Schwartz.


Ilan Averbuch, The Bleeding Harp. Image: collegepublisher.com

Please click HERE for more info.

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Fabrizio Plessi, La Stanza del Fuoco, 1999. (Not in the Brock collection). Image: plessi.it

VoCA contributor – and former student – Tricia Hulshof has contributed this piece about the hopefully soon-to-be-built Niagara Centre for the Arts in St. Catharines, Ontario:

Lying south of Toronto across Lake Ontario, the St. Catharines/Niagara region is already renowned for its picturesque countryside, lush wineries, rich cultural heritage, and Niagara Falls. Now, the region is about to add one more marker to the map.

Owing to a partnership between the City of St. Catharines and Brock University, a feasibility study has been initiated to implement a performing arts centre in the city’s downtown core. The potential Niagara Centre for the Arts (NCA) was first addressed with a Performing Arts Centre Feasibility Study in 1999, and a series of needs and priority assessments in the following years. In November 2007 Brock and the city commissioned a Request for Proposal, officially establishing their liaison in executing the NCA.

The project was spurred by long-awaited needs on behalf of Brock’s School of Fine and Performing Arts (SFPA), Brock’s Centre for the Arts, and arts groups within the St. Catharines/Niagara region. Through the performing arts centre, the university and the city aim to provide an expansion of artistic boundaries that connect students, community, local professionals, and regional street life.

For Brock, the performing arts centre would provide much needed space for the Centre for the Arts, whose current space has become inadequate for its volume of performances and events. As well, the NCA would potentially house Brock’s SFPA, which oversees the departments of Music, Visual Arts, Dramatic Arts, and Studies in Arts and Culture. A move off campus would mean more production space and a unique approach to education, providing students with professional prospects and opportunities to interact with local arts specialists.

For the City of St. Catharines, the performing arts centre would be a great contribution to the downtown revitalization project, and the area’s established art centers such as the Niagara Artists’ Company and Rodman Hall. In addition to an academic facility, the NCA would encompass a municipal facility to house local arts organizations’ programming, benefiting local artists, tourists, and residents alike.

So far, the NCA exists only as a feasibility study. The study, according to Dean of Humanities Dr. Rosemary Drage Hale, is on schedule and gaining support for the potential building project that is the projected result. “A joint facility such as that being considered will have a marked impact,” noted Hale. “It will serve as a major attraction for developers and other businesses interested in taking root in a city that clearly places a high valance on arts and culture.”

Having hired a consultant team in January 2008, the composition of a Program, Site and Facility Management Feasibility Study for a Cultural and Academic Development in downtown St. Catharines is underway. The study is to precede the Artistic Program Plan, which will make suggestions based on site, business plans, and cultural and economic considerations.

Under the expertise of Levitt Goodman Architects, Martin Vinik, and Urban Strategies, the performing arts centre consultation is forwarding the development of St. Catharines’ cultural community. Sharilyn Ingram, Director of the SFPA at Brock and member of the Project Management Team is optimistic about the physical implementation of the NCA.

“People are becoming aware of and excited by the potential that cultural development offers our community,” said Ingram. “Opportunities for young people to stay in the Niagara region, attracting powers of cultural facilities and programs, the ways that cultural expression can build community and sense of place, the economic spin-offs and ancillary activities generated by this level of engagement – it’s all very exciting.” While currently ongoing, the feasibility study is due to be completed with recommendations by the end of summer.

Stay tuned…

For more on St. Catharine’s upcoming art scene:

-Rodman Hall Art Gallery – currently showing Gwen MacGregor. Please click HERE

-Niagara Artists’ Centre – click HERE

-Cram Art – currently showing work by Scott Waters. Please click HERE

One Response to “NEWS: Niagara Centre for the Arts”

  1. The article sums up the scene and enthusiasm for the NCA project’s potential in revitalizing the downtown core and the Brock school of Fine & Performing Arts. It is very astute to have CRAM’s inclusion in the list of art engines here in St. Catharines since the collective and “Canada’s smallest gallery” does provide a critical and crucial role in the city’s current cultural growth and development.

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