Ground broken for Performing Arts Centre
Officials from the City of Camrose, University of Alberta, University of Alberta Augustana Faculty, Government of Alberta, Camrose County and Camrose Arts Society joined community-minded individuals in breaking ground for the future Camrose Performing Arts Centre on Augustana Campus June 7.
The act was a long time coming for everyone who has had anything to do with the project.
"Since my first day here I have dreamed of this day, but many citizens in Camrose have dreamed about this project for much longer, in fact several years or more," said Augustana dean Dr. Allen Berger, who emceed a pre-groundbreaking program. "That we are finally here with a building ready to start is a testament to the vision, the determination, the goodwill and the generosity of several partners."
Mayor Marshall Chalmers called the day a great one for the City of Camrose, the region and the community at large.
"The performing arts centre has been discussed for several years," he said, "and the hard work of many has now led us to this tremendous day of celebration."
Mayor Chalmers expressed appreciation to the City's partners on the project, including the Province of Alberta, the University of Alberta and Camrose County.
"The reality of the situation is that no one party could have pulled this off on its own," he said. "But four partners, and we hope five if the federal government can come on board, can and have achieved this very important community goal."
Mayor Chalmers said the performing arts facility will be a gem in the lives of generations and fulfills a significant cultural need in the region.
"The performing arts centre will be a tremendous opportunity for the talented local artists who have developed their skills here to showcase themselves right here – in their own community, amongst their own community supporters. The scope of the facility will provide for our region to enjoy superior entertainment. The scale of this facility will keep our community competitive amongst similar sized centres, allow for enhanced local productions, touring entertainment, and will become a beacon for visiting talents of all kinds. The centre will be another asset to our city's great quality of life, and certainly another compelling reason to visit or move to Camrose."
Reeve Don Gregorwich said groundbreaking represents the start of an exciting new venue in Camrose and on Augustana campus.
"We feel this will be a remarkable facility which will be used for generations by people of all ages, and we feel that our financial commitment is our way of showing our belief that the arts and culture are an important and integral part of a healthy and vibrant community."
University of Alberta provost and vice president, academic, Dr. Carl Amrhein, said the Camrose performing arts centre symbolizes a strong partnership among the government, the community and the university.
"Pooling our collective resources, energy and talents, the Alberta Government, the City of Camrose, Camrose County and Augustana Campus have shown what can be accomplished when neighbours come together for a project such as this. Today we honour a collaborative partnership that will foster this beautiful facility, ensuring ongoing community access and mutual benefits for everyone who enters it."
Dr. Amrhein said the University of Alberta is proud to know that the Augustana Campus is held dear by its many friends and neighbours.
"The University of Alberta's pride in Augustana Campus runs very deep. We certainly consider it to be one of the prominent jewels in our family crown. The new facility, with its devotion to celebrating arts and culture, reflects the commitment, and indeed the promise that the University has made to society, to the uplifting of all Albertans, indeed all people from everywhere. The performing arts centre makes stronger an already strong academic foundation for our many gifted students and faculty at the Augustana campus. They will benefit from the creative spaces within this facility, allowing them to hone their talents and spread their wings as artists and performers."
Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Verlyn Olson said he is impressed with the number of government ministries – tourism, infrastructure, culture and municipal affairs – that have been part of the performing arts centre project.
"This is proof positive that we can accomplish many things when we work together."
Minister Olson said the building that will emerge from the ground will be one in which everyone will be able to take pride.
Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education Steven Kahn said that in addition to meeting the needs of the local university and touring performing arts communities, the centre will play an important role in attracting new students to the campus.
He added that the arts contribute to the overwhelming health of society.
"There is a link between arts and overall quality of life, with the arts adding significant social and economic benefits to the region and the community."
Minister Kahn commended Augustana for its innovative approaches to meeting the needs of students.
"The Camrose performing arts centre is not the only example. Your new programming – a combined bachelor of science bachelor of education degree – provides rural placement for student practicum. Your vision and support of government interest in enhancing access to lifelong learning opportunities for rural learners by providing a centre of innovation research and a service for rural areas."