The ink is drying on the first partnerships undertaken with the Chilliwack Cultural Centre since throwing open their doors on Corbould Street four years ago.
Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra and Chilliwack School of Performing Arts will be joining the Cultural Centre, as proven community-based non-profits established in the past decade.
The Cultural Centre’s executive director Michael Cade says it’s a reflection of how much the arts community in Chilliwack has grown over the past four years.
“Our arts scene has grown since then in a myriad of ways – and that’s something we hope to reflect,” he said. “This is about moving into the future and making stronger connections to the community.”
CSO and CSOPA are joining existing partners: Chilliwack Players’ Guild, Chilliwack Visual Artists Association, Chilliwack Academy of Music, Chilliwack Arts & Cultural Centre Society, and City of Chilliwack.
The idea is that partners they can take advantage of the support and resources of their neighbours.
“A big part of it is looking at the community as a whole and making sure we’re inclusive,” Cade says. “We’re constantly asking ourselves how we could be doing more or better representing Chilliwack culture.”
CSOPA now brings in roughly 6000 audience members for its annual musical theatre production in January.
CSO conductor Paula DeWit was one of the orchestra’s cofounders, and said the partnership was in their sights “from day one” when construction started.
The maestra estimated the CSO and Chorus attracts crowds of at least 3000 per season. She looks forward to the “collegiality” and collaboration that is so crucial in the arts sector.
“This partnership is going to help us keep live music going in Chilliwack. It gives these Chilliwack musicians in the community opportunity to do what they were born to do – make music and bring joy to those around them.”
The CSO presents several annual concerts and ongoing collaboration with other musical groups, such as the Chilliwack Opera Troupe.
“It is very exciting to be recognized by the community as an important component in the Chilliwack arts scene,” says Chilliwack CSOPA artistic director Andrew Smith. “And it’s an honour to be recognized as an organization that helps shape what the arts community looks like in Chilliwack. It reaffirms our position that we’re doing something right with what we offer the community.”
And bringing in new community partners for the first time in four years may be a sign of things to come. Any not-for-profit arts group is welcome to apply for partnership, Cade said, and applicants are reviewed on an annual basis.
“We have a mandate to help keep the arts scene vibrant and relevant,” Cade concludes. “And that’s exactly what we plan to do.
“It’s our passion.”