Elora arts centre receives $1.2-million federal grant

Construction of 3,500-square-foot addition expected to begin this fall

ELORA – The Elora Centre for the Arts has a big dream, and a $1.2-million grant from the federal government has moved it closer to reality.

The arts centre announced receipt of the funding on Feb. 23.

The centre already completed its Paths that Connect Us project by installing a walkway and outdoor art installations around the perimeter of the property, and the pavilion on the yard out back was completed last year, allowing for outdoor performances and events on a covered stage.

Improvements to the parking lot have also been completed.

But the dream also includes a 3,500-square-foot addition to the historic schoolhouse, and the funding through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, along with private and corporate donations, brings the total for that project to $3.4 million.

Development director Molly Kleiker said in a phone interview that funding came in two instalments — the first in 2022, followed by a supplement in recognition of increased construction costs.

Kleiker said the project is out for re-tender, which will give officials a better idea of what the actual cost will be as they hone in their fundraising campaign.

“These are exciting times for the arts centre,” she notes in the press release.

“We’re getting ready to break ground on a 3,500-square-foot expansion, which will include a multi-use atrium for performances, exhibitions, and community events; an expanded kitchen; and much-needed fully accessible washrooms.”

She said the arts centre is currently turning away more than half of the requests it receives to use the space because it doesn’t have the capacity.

With the addition “we will really put the art community on the map,” she added. “We’re really excited about the addition.”

“I am pleased to see the Elora Centre for the Arts getting funding through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. The expansion will ensure that this historical building remains a vital place for community events,” Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong states in the release. 

In 2016 the Elora Centre for the Arts embarked on an unprecedented growth trajectory.

Its renewed community-centred mandate has given birth to many free and subsidized programs for thousands of people, including art programs for adults and youth with disabilities, a broad range of after school activities, and multimedia programs for residents of the Portage Centre for youth recovering from addiction, according to the press release.

Executive director Lianne Carter stated the increased space and accessibility is “crucial” to serving growing community demand.

The funding has provided the momentum to inspire the broader community to help the centre reach its goal, she added.

Centre Wellington Township allotted $380,000 to the centre from the Jack R. MacDonald fund in 2019.

“That was the seed funding we needed to go to other funders,” Kleiker said.

Construction for the expansion is expected to begin this fall. Meanwhile, arts centre staff and volunteers will build on the momentum through their core fundraising campaign entitled The Art of Possibility.

For more information or to donate contact Kleiker by emailing development@ecfta.ca.