National Arts Centre to expand music program in Atlantic Canadian communities

By on March 24, 2016

National Arts Centre. (Photo: National Arts Centre/Centre national des Arts/Facebook)
National Arts Centre.
(Photo: National Arts Centre/Centre national des Arts/Facebook)

OTTAWA—A music program that gives children in rural and remote areas in Atlantic Canada access to teachers from the National Arts Centre is part of the organization’s five-year plan released today.

To date the Music Alive program has sent professional music teachers into schools and communities in parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nunavut and Manitoba, resulting in lessons and mentorship to 105,000 students.

The Ottawa-based centre says it’s been an objective for some time to expand the program to the East Coast, to help build on an already thriving music scene.

The pilot project for the Atlantic region is set to begin this year, with plans to launch a full-time program next year.

Rosemary Thompson, the centre’s spokeswoman, says there isn’t a firm budget yet, but the NAC has a strong track record of raising money for the music outreach program through its charitable foundation.

She says the foundation raises between $8 million and $10 million a year for the arts.

“We go to communities where there is less service. We’ve been to Atlantic Canada and been told there’s a need in rural and remote areas,” she said.

The program typically partners with existing orchestras and music education organization that are already in place.

The centre also says it will develop a department of indigenous theatre and make efforts to make the NAC more accessible to francophones across the country.

The five-year plan says the national centre will “give a more prominent place on its stages to francophone productions, while commissioning and co-producing productions with Quebec-based festivals.

Thompson said push will include funnelling increased support to Acadian artistic productions across the Maritimes.

The centre is meanwhile continuing with a $110.5-million renovation of its 47-year-old buildings in Ottawa, including a new glass entrance and changes to two major performance areas to improve sound and accessibility.

The NAC’s annual parliamentary appropriation is $35 million.