TATAMAGOUCHE – Floyd Tucker is a man of few words, but was excited to hear provincial funding was approved for a new arts centre.
“I’m extremely happy. This is what we’ve been working for,” said Tucker, the president of the Creamery Square Association following an announcement on Wednesday to the tune of $130,000 for the Grace Jollimore Joyce Arts Centre. “This is the last piece of the puzzle for the government funding.”
The arts centre is named after Ron Joyce’s mother. Ron Joyce co-founded Tim Hortons and the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation.
During the announcement, Premier Stephen McNeil said the money was coming from two departments – $80,000 from Economic and Rural Development and Tourism and $50,000 from Communities, Culture and Heritage.
“This is such a symbol of what can happen when the community gets together,” the premier said before a crowd of about 75 people. “This will allow us to work with you in the completion of the Grace Jollimore Joyce Arts Centre. I can’t tell you how happy I am.”
With the Joyce, Norrie and MacKay families all represented at the announcement, along with members of the Creamery Square Association and the Creamery Square Arts Society, McNeil recognized the commitment everyone has put into the project over the past 10 years.
“You should be congratulated for that,” he said.
As secretary for the arts society, Anne MacKeen said the funding was a “vital contribution” to the completion of the centre, which will feature seating for up to 160 people for cultural performances, festivals, events and more.
“This venue will become a destination for visiting performers, artists, musicians and tourists,” said MacKeen. “We value the culture, history and environment of all our peoples. We believe in a well-rounded, balanced community with health, sports and the arts.”
Both MacKeen and Tucker said funding for the centre is almost complete, but there’s still about $250,000 left to come in the $1.4-million project.
“This is just part of the completion of a dream. We’re just about there,” said MacKeen.
“We have so many hopes and dreams for the building, and for the square itself. Our imagination is our only limitation, and we have some people with great imaginations.”
MacKeen also credits the local residents for their support, as well as those newcomers to the area for their dedication.
Now that funding has been secured through the provincial government, construction on the inside is underway.
“It was weather-tight for the winter,” said Fred Maybee, past-president of the association. “The ceiling is complete, so I’m not sure what’s next.”
He said construction stopped for about five months over the winter, but with construction well underway inside, he’s hoping everything will be complete prior to the Oct. 31 contract deadlines through funding that was just announced and previous funding from ACOA.
More information on the project can be found online at www.creamerysquare.ca, or by contacting the office at 657-3500.