Two City of Surrey arts venues are giving a boost to arts and culture for youth in Metro Vancouver. A refurbished auto garage is now home base for a theatre company and a hip hop group, and across the street a recreation centre wall is hosting innovative large scale digital art.
“We are going to be… encouraging emerging artists, young artists and we’re going to ask them to speak with their own voices and build their own pieces and experiment” – Ellie King
Transformed through a $250,000 renovation, Parkway Studio has been overwhelmingly welcomed by its new tenants StreetRich Hip Hop Society and The Royal Canadian Theatre Company who, until now, had been operating without a home base. “Here, we have heat, we have light, we have access, we have up-and-over doors so, we can load our scenery in and out easily. We have bathrooms,” says Ellie King, Creative Director of The Royal Canadian Theatre Company.
The 2500 square foot space allows the not-for-profit groups to spend more time focused on developing their craft and expanding their organizations and less time scrounging up funding. Ellie King, “We are going to be doing a studio series which we couldn’t do before and so that’s going to be encouraging emerging artists, young artists and we’re going to ask them to speak with their own voices and build their own pieces and experiment.”
“StreetRich,” says co-founder Mattias Boon, “really wants to create this home for youth, through the artistic elements of hip hop culture help youth become themselves and build capacity.”
While each of the groups is based in Surrey they organize and participate in events throughout the region. The Royal Canadian Theatre Group tour their performances across the lower mainland.
Another City of Surrey arts initiative is UrbanScreen, across the street at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre. It is Canada’s largest non-commercial outdoor projection screen. Projections are curated by the Surrey Art Gallery and can be viewed by the public evenings as soon as it’s dark.