Work underway on Canada’s first Black arts centre

Alica Hall

Alica Hall, executive director of the Nia Centre For The Arts in Toronto, said at a news  conference last Friday that work has started on the creation  of Canada’s first Black arts centre.

She spoke of a $7.5-million renovation of the Nia Centre’s 14,000-square-foot headquarters on Oakwood Avenue to create “a safe, culturally affirming place for Black youth to explore their creative talents.”

It will have a multidisciplinary, professional arts space with a 160-seat performance area, artist studio, recording studio, digital media lab, hallway galleries and co-working spaces she said.

Alica Hall, John Tory, Nation Cheong, Jill Andrews  and Adam Vaughan

 “Through exhibitions and public programming rooted in modern and traditional Black expression, we will expand our collective understanding of the Black Canadian experience,” she told reporters.

” We recognize that despite Black artists being celebrated around the Globe there isn’t a professional facility in the city where we can present their work.,” said Hall.

” The NIA Centre isn’t just a building. We are creating a destination for Black Canadians. Finally we will have a place to celebrate our stories and validate our challenges and celebrate our success,” she added.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seeking from Ottawa said “This new space will continue to bring people together and allow everyone to experience the art that is rooted in Black Canadian traditions, and that is incredibly important because we all need to continue to educate ourselves on the culture and experiences of others.”

Nation Cheong, John Tory, Alica Hall, Josh Matlow  and  Adam Vaughan

Speaking at the news conference, Toronto Mayor John Tory said the building housing the NIA Centre has a “very storied history as a bowling alley and as a banquet hall.

“Now it is going to be the first professional Black arts centre of its kind in Canada and I am proud that it is here in this building that the City has provided.”

The project has received $2-million in grant money from the Federal Government along with financial assistance from the City of Toronto, Canadian Heritage, United Way Toronto and the Trillium Foundation.

Construction has already begun on the project and it is expected that it will  be completed by October 2021.

The NIA Centre has raised $250,000 of the $1,500,000 goal 2,008
people have donated this was last updated October 13th, 2020
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This is what NIA will look like