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Habitat for the Arts elated about new home

Habitat for the Arts hosted Calgary’s Cantaré Children’s Choir for a workshop in its new location at the Jasper Library and Cultural Centre, June 5. Photo - K. Byrne.

Habitat for the Arts hosted Calgary’s Cantaré Children’s Choir for a workshop in its new location at the Jasper Library and Cultural Centre, June 5. Photo – K. Byrne.

Marianne Garrah, with Habitat for the Arts, couldn’t help but get emotional as the warm sounds of the Calgary’s Cantaré Children’s Choir gently washed over the walls of the new Library and Cultural Centre, July 5.

The choir performed in Jasper the previous day and was invited by Habitat for the Arts to host a workshop, sharing their skills with local kids. However, for Garrah, the day was much more than a free musical affair. Aside from a small Canada Day event, the workshop marked the organization’s first event in its new home at the Library and Cultural Centre.

“This is exactly what I was hoping for. It’s been an amazing start,” Garrah said as she welled up with tears. “We want to see these younger children come and get involved with the arts because the ones that get hooked young are the ones that are going to keep this building going into the future.”

The newly opened space is located on the top floor of the library and includes two multi-purpose classrooms, a pottery room, a media arts lab, a music room and a spot on the walls for an ever-changing travelling art exhibit.

For the month of the July, the organization already has a full schedule of events that includes arts and craft days for children, teens and seniors. Starting July 16, the organization will also kick off its cereal and cartoons program, which invites kids to come in for some morning cereal while learning all about how to create their own cartoons.

Along with providing a comfortable environment for those looking to get in touch with their creative side, Habitat for the Arts also has a partnership with Beyond the Classroom Network, an educational initiative throughout Canada which allows students to swap out a week in the classroom for some hands-on learning whether that be in a zoo, museum or art gallery.

“We have a little of everything, but I think it will take people awhile before they fully understand all the things that can be done with a multi-purpose room,” said Garrah.

Unforeseen construction errors and missed deadlines left Habitat for the Arts without a fixed address for more than three years, which hurt the organization’s ability to hold events, weakened community partnerships and left it unable to apply for grants. However, the organization was finally able to move into its new home at the end of June and officially opened July 1.

“I just can’t believe it’s finally happened,” said Habitat for the Arts member Ann Hoffele, during opening day. “I’m excited to see how the rest of the year goes.”

Kayla Byrne
reporter@fitzhugh.ca

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