In case you’re wondering and /or worrying about what happened to the old IGA building downtown, it is making way for the future — the future of the arts in Lethbridge.
But like everything good, it takes time and a little bit of money, though not as much as you might think. Because soon, construction will begin on a new community arts centre designed to replace the Bowman Arts Centre and help complete an ‘arts corridor ’ in the downtown core which will cater to all members of the increasing population and corresponding number of people involved in the arts including visual artists, actors, dancers, quilters, potters and musicians.
The Community Arts Centre project is part two of of a three pronged investment in the arts in Lethbridge, which began with the recently completed refurbishment and renovation of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.
“The Arts facilities are inadequate in the terms of how many people use them and the capacity of the buildings, ” said Suzanne Lint, Allied Arts Council executive director adding facilities like the Yates Centre and the Bowman Arts Centre were developed back in the ’60s, when Lethbridge’s population hovered around 30,000, now, some 40 years later, outside acts can’t even get a booking at the Yates and the Bowman Arts Centre is bursting at the scenes.
So with this in mind, the Allied Arts Council and Lethbridge City Council got together about four or five years ago to formulate a plan to address this issue.
The first step was completed in September with the completion of $3.9 million worth of renovations to the Southern Alberta Art Gallery which added additional space to the reception and display areas, a new loading dock as well as a new library space among other changes.