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City Expands Arts and Culture Space in Surrey

October 18, 2011

Surrey – As part of the Build Surrey Program and the new Cultural Plan, the City of Surrey is moving forward with plans to build a new arts centre in South Surrey and phase two of the Surrey Museum. The decision was made during last night’s Council meeting.

“The arts play an integral role in connecting people and helping to build vibrant, socially cohesive communities, and we want to enrich the tremendous talent we have in our city,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. “We want to further establish Surrey as a cultural hub in the region, and our community partners are helping us shape and implement that vision.”

Surrey’s draft Cultural Plan has identified, among other things, the need to develop additional arts space in South Surrey. In order to determine the most suitable location for the new arts space, the City consulted with all of the arts-related community organizations in South Surrey. The groups unanimously supported the concept of a phased approach.

The first phase will be a 3,500 to 4,000 square foot expansion to the South Surrey Recreation Centre in 2012. The following amenities could be accommodated within the expansion:

  • office for the Semiahmoo Arts Society;
  • shared meeting room/multi-purpose room;
  • pottery studio;
  • visual arts studio;
  • use of the circulation areas and the studio areas for heritage displays/exhibitions of art work; and
  • storage space for facility users.

The South Surrey White Rock Arts Society has raised $250,000 and has generously offered to donate these funds to the phase one project, in exchange for some free facility use for their monthly meetings and annual art sales.

The second phase will be the creation of a new arts centre on 152nd street in the South Surrey town centre, within the next three to five years. The facility will include performing arts and visual arts space, as well as instructional and studio areas.

“These new projects are part of our new Cultural Plan, a comprehensive document that defines and outlines the importance of cultural development in Surrey and provides the tools and strategies necessary to implement the appropriate programs and policies,” says Councillor Judy Villeneuve, who sits on the Mayor’s Committee on Arts and Culture.

Local arts groups will be involved with the planning and operation of the new space at the recreation centre, and a community advisory committee will be established to provide input on phase two. This committee will be chaired by Councillor Villeneuve.

The draft Cultural Plan, which will be completed this year following extensive community consultation, also recommended the second phase of the Surrey Museum be completed to meet the growing demand. The City will now be developing a concept plan, including a phasing strategy. A reserve fund has already been established, including $250,000 from the Friends of the Museum Society and $200,000 from the City.

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Media Contact:

Tara Foslien
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of the Mayor