‘From the ashes’: Local arts community breaks ground on new Roxy Theatre - Edmonton Journal - Canadanewsmedia
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‘From the ashes’: Local arts community breaks ground on new Roxy Theatre – Edmonton Journal

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Artistic and community leaders broke ground on the reincarnation of the historic Roxy Theatre — which was destroyed in a fire in January 2015 — on Monday, a building which many hope will be a “new playground for everyone.”

“Today, (the Roxy) is like a phoenix that rises out of the ashes to be rebuilt and make stronger our community,” said Elder Will Campbell as he blessed the 124 Street lot and said a prayer. “This will be a window into a lot of talent that comes from this city.”

The Roxy has been home to the Theatre Network Society, which focuses on celebrating contemporary Canadian theatre and performance since 1990. Many local leaders noted that it is an important space to explore “edgy themes” and to support theatre, LGBTQ2S+ and marginalized communities as well.

“If you’ve never paused to hold your loved one’s hand in public, then you don’t understand why you need places like the Pulse Nightclub (in Orlando) and the Roxy, because I could hold my partner’s hand here and not wonder what anybody would think,” said Randy Boissonnault, MP for Edmonton-Centre, on the original lot of the theatre on 124 Street.

Including insurance money and funding from all levels of government, the project — which is slated to be completed by the end of 2020 — has raised $10 million. Fundraising efforts for the remaining $1.5 million needed to complete the theatre are ongoing. 

“It is a seminal theatre, not just for Edmonton but for the country,” said Boissonnault.

Bradley Moss, artistic and executive director of the Theatre Network Society, noted that the new building will give the society space to incorporate new artistic disciplines and support more artists from a variety of backgrounds. The rebuilt theatre will feature a 200-seat main stage as well as an 80-seat “black box” studio theatre and art gallery attached to the lobby.

“The new building is an opportunity for us to reimagine the whole facility,” said Moss. “We wanted to raise the ‘Roxy’ sign to give honour to our history and the building that was here before … it’s going to be a convergence of what is old and what is new.”

Both NDP and UCP MLAs highlighted the positive impact the rebuild will have culturally and economically for businesses along 124 Street and across Edmonton.

“We know that arts is often one of the first things to be cut in times of austerity, but we know how important it is that we invest in them,” said Edmonton-Glenora MLA Sarah Hoffman. 

“When people come here to watch theatre, they often grab a bite or a drink before or after, and it’s great for the local businesses, too.”

Leela Aheer, minister of culture, multiculturalism and status of women, stressed that the UCP government is committed to continued funding for the arts in Alberta. 

“The impact that it has on our children and our families and on our future cannot be understated,” she said.

The cause of the fire was never determined but arson was ruled out.

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White House to honour Jon Voight, Alison Krauss with National Medal of Arts – CBC.ca

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Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, singer and musician Alison Krauss and mystery writer James Patterson are among the artists and philanthropists being honoured by President Donald Trump for their contributions to the arts or the humanities, the first recipients of prestigious national medals since Trump took office.

The White House announced four recipients of the National Medal of Arts and four of the National Humanities Medal in a statement Sunday night. Voight is one of Trump’s few vocal Hollywood backers, and has hailed him as “the greatest president of this century.”

Trump is also honouring the musicians of the U.S. military, who frequently entertain at White House events.

Trump will award the medals during a ceremony at the White House on Thursday.

While the honours had been an annual affair during past administrations, they have not been awarded since Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. The most recent arts or humanities medals were bestowed by President Barack Obama in September 2016.

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to singer Diana Ross during a ceremony in the White House East Room in Washington, U.S., Nov. 22, 2016. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The recipients of the National Medal of Arts are:

  • Alison Krauss, the bluegrass-country singer and musician, “for making extraordinary contributions to American music.” The White House misspelled her name in its release.
  • Sharon Percy Rockefeller “for being a renowned champion of the arts, generous supporter of charity, and a pioneer of new ideas and approaches in the field of public policy.”
  • The Musicians of the United States Military “for personifying excellence in music and service to country.”
  • Jon Voight “for his exceptional capacity as an actor to portray deeply complex characters.” Voight starred in Midnight Cowboy, the 1969 film that won an Academy Award for best picture, and he won the best actor Oscar for 1978’s Coming Home. He appears in the Showtime series Ray Donovan.

The recipients of the National Humanities Medal are:

  • The Claremont Institute “for championing the Nation’s founding principles and enriching American minds.”
  • Teresa Lozano Long “for supporting the arts and improving educational opportunities” through scholarships and philanthropy.
  • Patrick O’Connell, the chef at The Inn at Little Washington, “for being one of the greatest chefs of our time.”
  • James Patterson “for being one of the most successful American authors of our time.” Patterson wrote a book about Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier who killed himself while awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls. The book includes several references to Trump, including an account of the men’s falling out.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities solicit candidates for the medals and compile proposed winners. The White House, which sometimes adds its own nominees, traditionally approves and announces them ahead of a presidential ceremony.

Trump has had an uneasy if not hostile relationship with many in the arts and the humanities who oppose his policies and have denounced his presidency. He has been largely shunned by Hollywood and has skipped events like the annual Kennedy Centre gala that is one of Washington’s premier social gatherings after some honorees said they would not attend if Trump was part of the ceremony.

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Alison Krauss to Be Awarded National Medal of Arts – Rolling Stone

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Alison Krauss is among those chosen to receive the National Medal of Arts from President Trump. The honorees, including the country-bluegrass musician, actor Jon Voight, and the bands of the United States military, mark the first recipients of arts and humanities medals of Trump’s presidency.

Trump is set to present the medals at the White House during a Thursday ceremony. It’s unknown if Krauss will attend. A rep for the Grammy-winning vocalist did not return a request for comment.

The White House announced the honorees in a release on Sunday night that extolled Krauss’s “extraordinary contributions to American music” and noted how she has “entertained and enriched the souls of millions.” It also initially misspelled her name as “Allison.”

Known for her exemplary fiddle playing and angelic voice, Krauss has released music as a solo artist and with the group Union Station, featuring Dan Tyminski and Jerry Douglas. In 2007 she joined Robert Plant to release the Grammy-winning album Raising Sand. Overall, Krauss has received 27 Grammy awards.

Last week, she was announced as one of the headliners of the 2020 MerleFest, the annual string-music festival in North Carolina.

Recipients of the Medal of Humanities — the counterpart honor to the Medal of Arts — include chef Patrick J. O’Connell and mystery novelist James Patterson.

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Kamloops arts centre vote will be held on April 4 – Kamloops This Week

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A referendum requesting voter approval to borrow funds for a performing-arts centre will be held on Saturday, April 4.

Kamloops council on Tuesday chose that date after looking at recommendtions from staff based on legislative timelines, staff resources and how the time of year might affect voter turnout.

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The yes-no question will be: “Are you in favour of the City of Kamloops borrowing up to $45 million to construct a Kamloops Centre for the Arts?”

Now that the referendum date has been set, next steps include appointing a chief election officer and deputy chief election officer, likely in early December, and notifying the province.

The Kamloops Centre for the Arts is proposed to rise at the former Kamloops Daily News location downtown at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Seymour Street. The proposal is being organized by the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society, with a land donation and financial backing from local philanthropists and businesspeople Ron and Rae Fawcett.

The $70-million centre would include a main theatre (1,200 seats), a small theatre (450 seats), a black box theatre (75 seats), along with space for rehearsal, production and meetings for various groups.

The society hopes to secure between $25 million and $40 million in fundraising and grant funding, leaving the city on the hook for between $30 million and $45 million in capital costs.

The city said it would not need to increase taxes as a result of the Tournament Capital Centre being nearly paid off by the time it borrows money for the arts centre.

The city would, however, be on the hook for operating costs, similar to other facilities like the Westsyde Pool, Sandman Centre or Tournament Capital Centre, and $3 million in site servicing for underground utility work.

A previous proposal to borrow up to $49 million for a $91-million performing-arts centre failed in 2015 by referendum, 54 per cent to 46 per cent. If next spring’s referendum question gets the nod from voters next spring, construction could begin in the summer of 2021, with the arts centre completed by the spring of 2023 for a fall 2023 opening.

 

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