New era for arts in Kingston and at Queen's
Kingston as well as Queen's stands to benefit from the changes that will take place at the J.K. Tett Centre in the months and years to come.
Kingston City Council approved the sale to Queen's of the waterfront land, with the exception of the J.K. Tett building, at a meeting July 18.
The Tett building houses most of the artistic and cultural groups that rent space from the city.
The university will take over space occupied by the Domino Theatre, and will enter an agreement with the theatre company regarding its ongoing use, says Vice-Principal (Operations and Finance) Andrew Simpson.
The agreement is subject to approval by Queen's Board of Trustees. The university will be asking for it at a special meeting to take place in the next couple of weeks, says Mr. Simpson. Further planning for the site will begin in the fall.
The purchase, which was made possible by a large pledge from Queen's benefactor Alfred Bader, is significant in that it gives Queen's a place to develop a much-needed performing arts centre, including a new conference hall and theatre.
"It will be of enormous value to the departments of music, drama and film studies. We hope to include additional classroom and office space as well."
The renewal of the site will also be a great opportunity for the city as well, he says. "It will be a cultural hub that will foster both visual and performance art within the community."
The Queen's proposal calls for a new performing arts complex that would contain a 300-seat concert hall and a 200-seat theatre. Public access to the waterfront will be maintained and no arts and cultural groups would be forced from the site. The proposal also includes the development of an outdoor amphitheatre. The new concert hall and theatre would be open for bookings from community groups. The proposal will also take into account the heritage of the buildings currently on the site and would use the acquisition proceeds to renew the Tett building.