That’s more than 8,500 students each year – and that number doesn’t include the thousands of non-student community members who also make playing, singing, dancing and acting an important part of their lives.
While most other divisions in the city have professional-level private performance venues within their geography, our bands, choirs, dance groups and theatrical performers must either hold their events in school gymnasiums with makeshift accommodations or pay to rent outside the community in order to allow for large audiences, sound and light effects and backstage/dressing areas.
SOSD has been renting facilities for far too long, repeatedly spending dollars that could be better used in the classroom if only we had our own permanent performance space. To solve this ongoing challenge, we have committed to building and furnishing a state-of-the-art $7.7-million performance centre.
While the division has allotted budget to the capital project, the facility must be 60 per cent funded by private and public donations. A $5-million Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre Capital Campaign launched behind the scenes in October 2016 and will run for approximately 18 months, targeting major donors, alumni and small-gifts contributors.
Put simply, the arts matter to young people – both today and in for their futures.
For many students, school-based programming is an introduction to the arts that opens the door and helps kids build confidence, find a community and express themselves for years to come. The Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre will provide these students a place for their passions to flourish and will help create a tangible sense of community surrounding the arts.
Community-based groups who need somewhere to perform their own art will also be able to rent the space for a small fee, creating a larger performing arts community within the division and building bridges with members from throughout the school community.