Arts Umbrella’s New Granville Island Arts Education Centre

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

Arts Umbrella has announced that the opening of its new arts education facility will be on April 10, 2021. Situated on Granville Island, Vancouver’s arts and culture hub, the 50,000 net-square-foot building more than triples the organization’s current space, providing children and youth with expanded programming and studio spaces and, for the first time ever, welcoming the public to on-site performances and exhibitions presented by young people in art and design; dance; and theatre, music and film.

Arts Umbrella’s New Granville Island Arts Education Centre

Arts Umbrella Granville Island

Arts Umbrella is where young artists ages 2–22 cultivate their creativity in Art & Design, Dance, and Theatre, Music & Film. 

In recent years, demand for Arts Umbrella programs has increased significantly. In November 2017, the Province of British Columbia confirmed the organization would move into the former South Building of Emily Carr University of Art + Design. In March 2018, the Department of Canadian Heritage announced $7 million in funding from the Canadian Cultural Spaces Fund to support the new facility, with the Province contributing an additional $1.4 million. To date, Arts Umbrella has secured close to $35 million towards its capital campaign and endowment fund goal of $37 million, which includes further support from the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Cultural Investment Fund. Construction and renovations commenced in January 2019, and the grand opening is slated for April 2021.

“As Canada’s leading non-profit arts education organization for young people, we are inspired to build on the legacy that Arts Umbrella has earned over the last four decades,” says Paul Larocque, President & CEO of Arts Umbrella.

“Over the past few years, our staff’s hard work, innovations, and programming leadership have steadily pushed against the boundaries of our current space. Now, we have room to support and inspire more young people to seek wonder through the arts.”  

This building project and associated campaign will serve as a model for non-profit arts educators across North America, significantly increasing Arts Umbrella’s capacity to work with school boards, community centres, and neighbourhood houses to provide transformative experiences for vulnerable young people in our community.

The organization currently serves more than 24,000 young people across Metro Vancouver annually and, within the next 3-5 years, the new core facility will welcome approximately 15,000 children and youth annually, through a wide range of programs, including community initiatives, distance learning, bursaries, and scholarships.

Arts Umbrella Granville Island
Dance studio, theatre, sculpture studio

This state-of-the-art building will house six spacious dance studios; four theatres, music and film studios with specialized technical and audio equipment; ten art and design studios, including a media hub, ceramics studio, and photography darkroom; a 132-seat theatre; a public exhibition space; and a dedicated workshop area for woodworking, stagecraft building, and general fabrication that will enhance capacity to train future industry professionals. Registration for Spring Session programs in the new building is now open.

Arts Umbrella was founded in 1979 as a community-based organization that opened to 45 students on Granville Island in Vancouver. Over the years, the non-profit has expanded to locations across Metro Vancouver, serving more than 600,000 young people. Close to 250 arts educators and staff help young artists unlock their passion for the arts, empowering them with essential skills such as creative thinking, confidence, and compassion – traits that support resilience and strength, particularly in tumultuous times such as COVID-19. 

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