A new stage has been reconstructed at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, which will reopen for regular performances starting Saturday, March 11, 2023. Quesnel is in public discussions about obtaining their own space like this. (Submitted photo)

A new stage has been reconstructed at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, which will reopen for regular performances starting Saturday, March 11, 2023. Quesnel is in public discussions about obtaining their own space like this. (Submitted photo)

The initial stages: brainstorming Quesnel’s arts infrastructure options

Obtaining a performance and arts centre is on discussion table

The arts as fuel in the economic engine.

The arts to attract and hold community members.

The arts as a developer of professions and renovator of local culture.

All of these topics are walls in the construction of a Quesnel Arts Centre.

The facility hasn’t been built yet. It’s a big ticket item that will involve public money in some form. But can it be built with private partnerships? Can it be built downtown, or should it be built near the post-secondary campus, or is somewhere else better? The most fun question of them all is: what all could be gathered under one impressive roof? The anchor would be a performance theatre, and ideally the Quesnel Art Gallery and the workings of the arts council would shift to that spot (freeing up valuable real estate at the Arts & Rec Centre for other worthy community causes), but this is an evening to be visionary about the possibilities.

All those questions are on the table and on the Zoom screen on May 2. A public meeting has been called, and a special callout is made to arts groups, economic development groups, cultural interests of all sorts to come be part of the dialogue.

At the front of the discussion is the Quesnel & District Arts Council and the consulting firm they have engaged “to begin the process of documenting the economic impact of the arts on our community,” said Cathy Heinzelman, president of the QDAC.

The firm, Nordicity, and its representative Louisa Plant and colleagues, will be in attendance via Zoom to gather the information that comes up in the open brainstorming forum.

If there is a community anywhere in B.C. that can discuss with authority the way the arts translates into broader community dollars and positive community attention, it’s this one. Wells, Barkerville, Cottonwood House, The Rocky Mountaineer, the month-long Performing Arts Festival happening right now, the fact the province picked Quesnel to commence this year’s BC Culture Days festivities…it is all tied to the highly developed and well monetized local arts industry. The root of the discussion hinges on how it could be made more.

“If your group is interested in being a part of this project, or if as an individual you are interested, please plan to attend,” said Heinzelman.

The meeting happens at the Arts & Rec Centre lounge (500 North Star Road) on May 2 starting at 7 p.m.

For further information contact Cathy Heinzelman (250-747-3864 or nstar@goldcity.net or qdcac2015@gmail.com) or Colleen Brines (250-747-2207 or colleenbrines@shaw.ca).

READ MORE: Quesnel Performing Arts Centre back on the table

READ MORE: BC Culture Days will be launched in Quesnel

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