Artists, a capella, and bagpipes all part of the mix as Orange Hub opens for business

Take a few skilled artists, place them next to an a cappella choir, and add a group of teenage bagpipers nearby.

What will you get? For some members of this unorthodox artistic mix, the answer is a new sense of community and creative synergy.

The Orange Hub, the west-end building that once housed MacEwan University’s fine arts classes, has opened for business to non-profit organizations.

Among the first tenants are the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, the Gateway Chorus, and the Edmonton Youth Pipe Band. They are among nine Edmonton-based groups that won a bid process to lease space in the Orange Hub.

The Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts has had its home base on 118th Avenue for years. It’s now expanding to the west end while keeping its Alberta Avenue presence.

Of the 200 artists with developmental disabilities who come to the Nina Haggerty Centre every week, a few have “risen to the top,” said Paul Freeman, the centre’s artistic director.

“They really need more than the Nina can give for that next level of development,” he said.

Those artists will get more space at the west end building and with that, the opportunity to expand their skills even more.

Artists work on their projects at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts’ location on 118th Avenue.

Freeman is keen to see interactions with other groups in the building. The city hopes the Orange Hub will eventually transform into one of the biggest non-profit centres of its kind in the country.

“It will be interesting to see how we’ll affect each other over there,” Freeman said. “(There’s) that little bit of synergy that happens when you get enough people together. We love where we are on 118th, and I think we can add to it by moving west and getting a little more tightly connected to other people who are doing similar things.”

Orange Hub space in demand

The Nina Haggerty Centre was one of almost 70 groups that expressed interest when the bid process was first discussed in 2016.

The successful organizations will pay a nominal rental fee and operational costs of about $15 per square foot per year, said Larissa Stetzenko, a program manager for the City of Edmonton.

About 60 per cent of the leasable space has been snapped up by the first wave of non-profit groups, and another round of market-rate rental space will be up for grabs through another bidding process opening soon.

While there’s a heavy artistic presence, the Orange Hub is open to any non-profit that is offering a program or service to the public, including groups such as the Multicultural Family Resource Society and the Red Road Healing Society.

‘It’s a new home’

The reduced rent is a big draw for the organizations.

“It’s set up in a way that makes it easy for us to move in which is really important for a group like us,” Freeman said. “We don’t run on profit, we run on principal over here. So affordability is a big part of it.”

The Gateway Chorus has been practising in their new space since the start of the year. The group’s marketing co-ordinator Cara Bedford said the group has had new members coming in to rehearsals every week. 

“It’s a new home and a chance to be part of a community in Edmonton that we wouldn’t necessarily get the chance to be a part of or talk to because Barbershop is a unique and different art form,” she said.

“We have new members coming in every week…it opens up a new member recruitment aspect that every organization really wants.” 

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Originally posted 2018-04-10 08:16:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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