“We have butterflies”: Place des Arts du Grand Sudbury opens its doors

Right in the heart of the city centre, the new building with its long bay windows and facades adorned with Corten steel stands out clearly.

The seven organizations that will occupy it have already moved in and visitors will soon be able to discover for themselves the interior of the three-storey building that they have seen gradually take shape since August 2019.

Well, we have butterflies. There are a lot of them, more than usualsays the outgoing president of Place des Arts, Stéphane Gauthier, upon seeing the 3,700 square meter building, because it took a lot of work to achieve this result.

Stéphane Gauthier wears a scarf and a black jacket.

Stéphane Gauthier is the outgoing president of Place des Arts du Grand Sudbury and the general manager of Carrefour francophone de Sudbury.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Welcome Senga

In Sudbury, the desire to create a gathering place for Francophone organizations in the cultural and artistic sectors dates back several decades and there have been a few attempts in the past, but they did not last long.

Place des Arts du Grand Sudbury, in its current form, emerged from the Estates General of La Francophonie in Sudbury in 2008, the original flick that led to everything else because it legitimized the projectrecalls Stéphane Gauthier.

Eight years later, in 2016, the Regroupement des Organismes Culturels de Sudbury convinced the City of Greater Sudbury to financially support the project and, subsequently, obtained the support of the provincial and federal governments.

A crowdfunding campaign was also set up to reach the total amount of approximately $32 million that the construction cost.

The latter, which was originally due to end in 2020, has experienced delays, particularly related to the pandemic.

Realize that we have succeeded in [faire] this course… remember when you were a child, then you made a layout of dominoes, how many times did you have to repeat yourself? We picked ourselves up several times, but we never stopped. »

A quote from Stéphane Gauthier, Past President of Place des Arts du Grand Sudbury

Member organizations of Place des Arts du Grand Sudbury

  • The Carrefour francophone de Sudbury
  • New Ontario Gallery
  • Public Speaking Editions
  • The Night on the Pond Concerts
  • The Greater Sudbury Bookfair
  • The New Ontario Theater
  • The Franco-Ontarian Folklore Center

A world of possibilities

Greater Sudbury’s Place des Arts is filled with possibilities, the ones we know, and the ones she doesn’t yet knowemphasizes Mr. Gauthier.

But even before welcoming the public, the building is already a marker in spacehe remarks.

Recently, when he came across a couple taking a self-portrait in front of Place des Arts, he came to the conclusion that the building was really worthy of a postcard.

The Corten steel gives the building the appearance of a rusty structure, a deliberate choice for give the image and the impression that we were not born yesterday, that the building is there in its place naturallyrecalls Mr. Gauthier.

So, imagine inside, all the artistic production that we can anticipate and all the novelties! »

A quote from Stéphane Gauthier, Past President of Place des Arts du Grand Sudbury
The Place des Arts building in Greater Sudbury

The facades of Place des Arts in Greater Sudbury are adorned with Corten steel in homage to the nickel city’s industrial history.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Welcome Senga

Next week, Place des Arts will host its very first major event: the 10th Greater Sudbury Book Fair (SLGS).

It’s still a big step, a big chapter. We have access to state-of-the-art facilitiesnotes its general manager, Geneviève LeBlanc.

She adds thatto have one’s roof facilitate the organization of activities throughout the year for the SLGS who, until now, had no choice but to rent spaces.

Place des Arts will also have a bookstore, which will be the only French-language one in Sudbury.

Geneviève LeBlanc looks into the camera lens.

Geneviève LeBlanc is the General Manager of the Greater Sudbury Book Fair.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Welcome Senga

For the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario (TNO), Place des Arts is offering a world of new possibilitiesunderlines the artistic director of the organization, Marie-Pierre Proulx, like that perhaps, to host or imagine a theater on a larger scale than our room could not accommodate before.

In addition to a Black Box like the one in which the NWT presented its plays at Collège Boréal, Place des Arts has a 300-seat performance hall.

The three actors on the boards of the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario

The former performance hall of the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario, a “black box”, had around 100 seats. (Archives)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Sophie Houle-Drapeau

It’s really an opportunity to come and consolidate the role we want to play in the community by being anchored in the city center, in a place that people can recognize or can come and find us, where we can carry out activities . »

A quote from Marie-Pierre Proulx, artistic director of the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario

In his view, Place des Arts has also the potential to become a hub where artists can feel at home, seek advice and its multidisciplinary aspect which will allow, for example, musicians to easily rub shoulders with actors, will create a dynamic that can contribute to the vitality of the environment.

Marie-Pierre Proulx smiles.

Marie-Pierre Proulx is the artistic director of the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Welcome Senga

To feed artistic succession

Due to the recent elimination of programs of study such as theater at Laurentian University and stage techniques at Boréal and Cambrian colleges, there may be a succession problemobserves Ms. Proulx, who thinks that the organizations housed at Place des Arts [auront] a role to play.

Obviously, we cannot replace post-secondary education programs, but I think we will all try to see how we can have mentoring programs, how we can welcome young people, young people who are interested in the arts and then nurture that love. »

A quote from Marie-Pierre Proulx, artistic director of the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario
The Place des Arts building in Greater Sudbury

Place des Arts du Grand Sudbury has three floors and includes offices, a performance hall, a bistro and a bookstore.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Welcome Senga

Stéphane Gauthier says he also measures the role of the new building in the training of the next generation of artists.

We are ready to welcome them, feed them, support them and give them the limelighthe says.

That’s basically why we’re doing this, it’s for the young people of tomorrow, the children of today who will grow up at Place des Arts and who will become either observers of the arts and from their milieu, but also who will be in touch with our artists. »

A quote from Stéphane Gauthier, Past President of Place des Arts du Grand Sudbury

Downtown revitalization

Of the four major construction projects that the City of Greater Sudbury has chosen to support in 2016, Place des Arts is the first to be completed, to the delight of City Councilor René Lapierre.

Councilor René Lapierre poses for a photo.

René Lapierre is a municipal councilor for the City of Greater Sudbury.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Frédéric Pepin

He hopes that the example of collaboration shown by the seven founding organizations of Place des Arts will attract other artistic and cultural groups to the new centre.

The new infrastructure would thus contribute to the revitalization of the city center, wishes the elected official.

I think it will bring together the arts community, not only francophone, but of all languages, all cultures, to come to a space to be able to see shows, plays, to have dinner at the bistro together. »

A quote from René Lapierre, City Councilor for Greater Sudbury
The Place des Arts building in Greater Sudbury

Place des Arts du Grand Sudbury will house a bookstore, which will be the only French-language one in Sudbury.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Welcome Senga

There is still work to do

Despite the important milestone reached with the end of construction, for Stéphane Gauthier, this is not the end of the book and there are many more chapters to write.

He has just passed the torch to his successor, Alain Richard, as President of Place des Arts, but hopes that all those who supported her, who were in this crazy adventure [de la construction] will continue to support it.

A cultural and artistic institution is sustained over time and over time if we want all generations to be able to benefit from it. It’s day one of the sequel to this great novel that is Place des Arts. »

A quote from Stéphane Gauthier, Past President of Place des Arts du Grand Sudbury

Certain components of Place des Arts will not be able to start their activities immediately. The early childhood artistic learning center and the bookstore-boutique are still looking for staff, explains Stéphane Gauthier.

There will be a lot of activities, but not everything will be ready in detail. We still give ourselves the time […] there is still work, there is still some finishing.

Several guests, including politicians from all three levels of government, are expected at the official opening ceremony on Friday afternoon.

But among those who will not be part of it, there is the former director of development of Place des Arts, Paulette Gagnon, who died in 2017, and whose contribution to the first stages of the project will be highlighted.

Without the base, without the foundation, without the work tools, without the example of rigor and energy that she displayed, none of this would have been possible.notes Mr. Gauthier.


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