A central arts hub in the community of South Calgary was given a financial boost of $3.5 million thanks to the Province of Alberta.
King Edward School is to be the centerpiece of a 45,000 sq. ft. facility dedicated to creations, productions, exhibitions and rehearsals and will include tenants such as the Alberta Craft Council, Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers and the Fairy Tales Presentation Society. The project is headed by the non-profit enterprise cSPACE.
“cSPACE is taking the next step in the transformation of King Edward (School) to a place where the creativity and imagination of this wonderful city will flourish, where the talents of emerging visual, performing and literal arts will be developed and where innovative entrepreneurs will establish themselves in cultural industries,” said Heather Klimchuk, Alberta’s Minister of Culture to the more than 50 gathered at the school for the announcement May 1.
The funds, to be dedicated to phase two of the project, were made available through the Community Facility Enhancement Program, which builds capital throughout the province.
“The reason we want to reach across the world to communicate with people all over this planet is simply that whole idea of cross pollination,” said Calgary-Currie MLA Christine Cusanelli. “It’s a natural human tendency and I am just so elated to see culture and creativity is going to be housed in this building because that’s naturally what people need to be doing and I think that is going to be such an asset to our city.”
King Edward School was built in 1912 during Calgary’s pre-World War One economic boom — as well as a school, the building also served as a cadet training facility during the First World War. The school’s first principal, William Aberhart would later serve as Alberta’s first Social Credit premier between 1935 and 1943.
In 2010, the Calgary Foundation and Calgary Arts Development formed a partnership to transform the school into an arts incubator — a mixed-use hub providing a community gathering place with a focus on advancement of the arts.
During Alberta Culture Days in September 2012, the school was dubbed a Celebration Site, receiving financial support to partner with others in the community to present free, familyfriendly events and cultural activities throughout the event weekend.
“I know these are such exciting times for cSPACE and this city and for all Albertans, and I was here for Alberta Culture Days and had a great tour and got to … meet some of the (King Edward School) ghosts and cool things like that, I just love this building,” said Klimchuk.