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Second planning session for Yarmouth's proposed arts and culture centre held

Participants had their say in what they think should stay or go in design

YARMOUTH - Participants rolled up their sleeves and got down to the business of building the proposed new arts and culture centre for Yarmouth on Feb. 21… on paper that is.

The second of three concept design and feasibility public study sessions for the complex was a well attended event at the Rodd Grand.

Representatives from the architecture company hired by the town, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited, planned the session.

Facilitator Talbot Sweetapple says his team is fine-tuning and filtering information gathered through the sessions and adding it to their research.

“We bring this back to our office and see what the common denominator is, see what’s percolating to the top, items that we want to make sure that we have in this complex.”

During the evening, participants in groups were asked to examine circles labelled with suggested space usage and/or additions to the complex and position them (or discard them) for a proposed design.  A volunteer from each table then explained their choices and criticisms.

No one held back, as some of the comments show:

“We needed more information on what the spaces were intended for. It’s pretty hard when you just say studio and you don’t know about the appropriateness. “

“There’s a lot of space dedicated to performing arts and probably not enough for studios and fine arts.”

“There was some concern at our table about the expenditure that the town is undertaking, if this is a new facility it seems exorbitantly ambitious.”

 “We think that the set shop is small. You only have one maintenance room, you need more.”

“We questioned the addition of a Maud Lewis Park, seeing as there are plans already underway for one on Hawthorne Street.”

And in response to architectural elements representing the fishing industry, one group spoke out.

“We took out the boats and fishing ideas as we see them everywhere already.”

The addition of a skating rink was questioned as being impractical because of the region’s roller coaster climate.

An art store was suggested until one participant commented there was already one on Main Street.

The town has chosen the Collins Street parking lot as the site for the future arts centre.

The town would be looking at municipal, provincial and federal funding, as well as sponsorship, to build the facility.

Potential users of the facility are encouraged to become involved as the project proceeds. The town has developed a new website where opinions and ideas are welcome.

The third and final design and feasibility study session is scheduled for March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rodd Grand Hotel.

Some of the suggestions for arts & culture complex tie-ins:

Sculpture garden

Fish market

Residential housing

Skating rink

Library of arts history

Live-streaming facility


Photo studio

Video computer design

Graphic design studio

Food court or café

Library connection

Public drinking fountain


Print shop

Board room

Click here to read story about first concept design and feasibility public study session.

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