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Media release: Dal Arts Centre reopens as Maritimes' performing arts epicentre with $40 million investment
Monday, June 13, 2022 (Halifax, NS) – Dalhousie President and Vice-Chancellor Deep Saini is pleased to announce the revitalization and reopening of the Dalhousie Arts Centre, made possible by the largest ever investment in the performing Arts in the Maritimes. The effort saw the provincial government, private donors and the university come together to invest $40 million to transform the 50-year-old Dalhousie Arts Centre into a regional performing arts hub. This investment follows on the heels of a $10-million gift from Fred and Elizabeth Fountain in 2013 to establish the Fountain School of Performing Arts.
“This is a milestone moment for the university and for our region,” says Dr. Saini. “I am so proud to be part of a university with such deep ties with its community. The revitalization project for the Dalhousie Arts Centre is a shining example of these ties. It demonstrates the strength and character of this community and what we can accomplish together.”
Rob Steele, chair of the Performing Arts Campaign, believes the performing arts bring colour and vibrancy to our community. “They make a city interesting and a place where we want to visit and live,” Steele says. “If you look at the great cities of the world, their performing arts venues are part of their DNA. That’s what we want this place to be – and what it will be.”
The 42,000-square-foot expansion at the rear of the building is nearing completion and students will begin their fall term in this world-class facility. It includes the new 300-seat Joseph Strug Concert Hall with state-of-the-art acoustics that will attract international performers and support Atlantic Canadian artist and students’ ambitions. There's a suite of rehearsal, teaching and practice studios, and specialized Costume Studies classrooms to support this unique in North America program and bring these students under the same roof as their performing arts peers.
These investments also enabled the development of a certificate in dance, provided new instruments, and added specialized equipment that will create recording and teaching opportunities in the Joseph Strug Concert Hall.
Other enhancements to the Centre, which include environmental upgrades, improved air quality, energy savings and greater accessibility, have modernized this iconic building. Improvements to performance spaces, like the beloved Rebecca Cohn auditorium, mean that multiple performances can take place on the Centre’s multiple stages at the same time.
Jérôme Blais, Director of the Dalhousie’s Fountain School of Performing Arts, expressed his gratitude and delight with the project’s success. “It’s a joy to see our new facilities and to celebrate the power of music and art. We are so proud to have such incredible supporters and the privilege of teaching and supporting the next generations of artists here at the Fountain School.”
Funding to the project includes the following:
- $10 million from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage
- More than $18 million in donations from community members, including the late Morris Strug, Rob Steele, Fred and Elizabeth Fountain, the J&W Murphy Foundation, and the estates of the late Sheila Piercey and Abe Leventhal
- An investment of more than $10 million from Dalhousie University
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