14/19 hits halfway point of fundraising goal - Dec. 8, 2016
BY DENNY SCOTT
Blyth Arts and Cultural Initative 14/19 Inc. has raised half of its five-year fundraising goal after just two years according to Administrator Karen Stewart.
Stewart presented an annual report to North Huron Township Council during its Dec. 5 meeting, outlining the expenses of the project, including the renovation of Memorial Hall, the construction of the Grant and Mildred Sparling Centre which will house the Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity (CCRC) and the development of a rural trust to operate the centre. The total expenses of the project came to $14,050,000 and the organization has raised more than $7 million, hitting its half-way point.
Among the additional expenses was the Philips Studio, an ancillary structure owned by the Blyth Festival, which Stewart reported would receive $250,000 thanks to efforts made by 14/19 in working with the province. The studio houses rehearsals, the Young Company show and will house two non-main stage shows this year.
Stewart reported that the Blyth Community Hall is well underway and that the organization worked with the province to direct funds to the Blyth Festival to pay for studio renovations. With those two projects started, 14/19 Inc. has started to focus on the Sparling Centre and the CCRC.
As reported in The Citizen, 14/19 has hired award-winning architect Heather Dubbeldam to handle the project. Stewart explained that it was Dubbeldam’s green aspirations and recognition through the Professional Prix de Rome Award that made Dubbeldam a front runner for this project.
Dubbeldam has recently been on site, Stewart said, and it made for an exciting day as the organization looked towards the centre being shovel-ready in March.
New programs to be run at the CCRC were also outlined during the presentation, including a new performing arts program resulting in a community opera show called Double Trap.
Stewart explained the show is based on the last hanging in Canada which happened in Goderich and would be led by Blyth Festival Artistic Director Gil Garratt.
The remaining $7 million to be raised was also discussed by Stewart, who said that capital was going to be raised through grants and through naming opportunities at the site.
She stated that funding was being sought through the Ministries of Infrastructure and Innovation.
Stewart also announced a special meeting set for Jan. 12 in Blyth where the CCRC project would be detailed and information would be available on programs to be held at the centre.
To finish the presentation, Stewart announced that the Rural Talks to Rural (R2R) Conference, which brought ruralists from across Canada and beyond Blyth for a conference about the challenges facing rural communities, would be repeated in 2018.
“Mark your calendars,” she said, presenting a video that highlighted the successes of the 2016 R2R conference.