Arts Umbrella to get $7M boost for sprawling new campus

Ottawa announces funding to outfit new building for non-profit arts educator

Over half a million students have been served by Arts Umbrella in since it opened in 1979. (Kevin Clark)

A Vancouver non-profit that teaches kids to dance, paint and sculpt is losing its old home — and gaining a new one, thanks to a $7-million injection from the federal government.

Arts Umbrella, which offers free programming for the bulk of its 20,000 young students each year, had been operating in an old nail factory on Granville Island.

The organization said the building was in need of repair from overuse and “bursting at the seams” with fledgling creatives, and the province announced it would supply a new space in November.

The federal funding announced Friday will help turn that new space into an array of studios and workshops.

The new facility includes a professional theatre and art gallery. (Arts Umbrella)

The facility will double the square-footage for students like Kaliq Pillai-Monsanto, who testified Friday to the organization’s impact on his drawing skills.

“I make art at home every day, but there I only get to use basic supplies like a pencil, an eraser and a fine liner,” Pillai-Monsanto explained.

“I love coming to Arts Umbrella because it lets me express myself with new materials,” like stamps and India ink, he said.

Kaliq Pillai-Monsanto credits Arts Umbrella with expanding his creative prowess. (CBC)

The funding comes from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, with an additional $1.4 million from the provincial Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture for ongoing programming.

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Private donors have supplied the centre with an additional $10 million to support the new space, slated to house 20 dance, theatre, applied arts and music studios plus workshop spaces, a professional theatre and a gallery.

Arts Umbrella hopes to open its new doors in fall 2019.

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