Arts Umbrella gets federal funding for new $27-million Granville Island home

Mar 24 2018, 9:44 am

The federal government is providing the Arts Umbrella with $7 million in funding for its new home on Granville Island.

It will go towards the non-profit arts education centre’s $27-million renovation cost of converting Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s old South Building at 1400 Johnston Street into its new purpose-designed facility.

Arts Umbrella is currently located in a 1930s-built nail factory on Granville Island that is “in poor condition from overuse” and “bursting at the seams due to high demand.” The organization provides arts education to over 20,000 young students per year, with about 80% enjoying the programs for free.

Arts Umbrella Emily Carr Granville Island

Emily Carr University’s former South Building at Granville Island will be renovated into the new facility for the Arts Umbrella. (Arts Umbrella)

Funding from the federal government is in addition to the $20 million that needs to be raised from the private sector. Over $10 million has already been raised from private donors.

This new state-of-the-art space for the Arts Umbrella is approximately 50,000 sq. ft. – significantly larger than the organization’s current nearby space of 14,000 sq. ft.

The building was originally designed by Patkau Architects, but its retrofit will be conducted by Henriquez Partners Architects.

When the building reopens in fall 2019, it will have seven dance studios, five theatre and music studios, eight visual and media arts studios, a 160-seat professional theatre, a publicly accessible exhibition gallery, and new workshop spaces.

“Our government believes that all children, regardless of age or circumstance, deserve access to artistic and cultural learning activities in their community,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, in a statement.

“As stewards of a future generation of artists, Arts Umbrella sparks creativity in all who walk through its doors. We are proud to support the next phase of Arts Umbrella’s growth as it moves to its new space, so that it can continue to inspire students for years to come.”

Arts Umbrella Granville Island

The existing Arts Umbrella facility at 1286 Cartwright Street on Granville Island. (Google Maps Streetview)

Over the coming years, an additional $1.4 million will be provided by the provincial government to subsidize a portion of the Arts Umbrella’s higher operational costs of being in a larger facility.

Last fall, the provincial government announced the Arts Umbrella as the new tenant of Emily Carr’s old South Building space, which relocated to a new $123-million campus building in the False Creek Flats last year.

As for the future use of the other half of the campus, a master plan by Granville Island indicates Emily Carr’s old North Building could be turned into an arts and innovation hub with spaces for artists, makers, and inventors, as well as amenity spaces such as an auditorium, gallery, cafe, and restaurants.

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