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City of Richmond officially opens new arts and culture hub

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:53 PST, Fri February 9, 2024

The City of Richmond joined representatives from the federal and provincial governments today to officially open the Richmond Cultural Centre Annex, the city’s newest arts and culture hub.

The 15,154 square foot building was previously the Minoru Place Activity Centre and is adjacent to the Richmond Cultural Centre and Library on Minoru Boulevard. It was recently converted to the Cultural Centre Annex thanks to a joint investment from the Community, Culture and Recreation stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

“The Richmond Cultural Centre Annex is an exciting new hub that will play an important role in strengthening Richmond’s already strong and vibrant arts and culture community,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “Not only will it complement our city’s existing cultural facilities, it will showcase and foster the creativity of many emerging and established local artists and performers.”

The Richmond Cultural Centre Annex operates as an extension of the arts and culture programs in the existing Richmond Cultural Centre. Among its features are studios for visual and performing arts including a pottery studio, a lobby featuring exhibition space for Richmond artists, and a “History Lab” for Richmond Museum school programs.

“We are proud to celebrate the complete transformation of the former Minoru Seniors Centre into a new community hub for creativity to flourish,” said Wilson Miao, Member of Parliament for Richmond Centre, on behalf of the Hon. Sean Fraser, minister of housing, infrastructure and communities. “The Richmond Cultural Centre Annex will provide local artists and performers with the appropriate space to express themselves and will support further artistic programming in the city. The federal government will continue to work alongside our partners at all levels to support community, cultural and recreational infrastructure projects that enrich the lives of Canadians.”

The $3.06 million revitalization of the former Seniors Centre into the Richmond Cultural Centre Annex was supported by $2.1 million from the province and $133,000 from the federal government, with the remaining investment coming from the city.

“We’re celebrating not only the opening of the Richmond Cultural Annex but also the social belonging and the cultural connection it fosters,” said the Hon. Anne Kang, BC minister of municipal affairs. “This is just one example of how my Ministry proudly works with all orders of government to support cultural learning, to grow the art scene, and to develop vibrant, healthy and inclusive communities like Richmond.”

A key feature of the new building is the upgraded and relocated Media Lab, home of the Richmond Youth Media Program and a place to explore and cultivate digital media arts skills that support personal and professional development.

This important educational multi-media centre received a one-time $360,000 funding investment from the Provincial Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation in 2023. This allowed for the addition of a variety of new equipment such as a classroom set of iPads, sound and music recording instruments, and a 3-D printer.

“As a lifelong Richmond resident and teacher of youth, I’m thrilled to celebrate the opening of a new centre for arts, culture and learning in our community,” said Parm Bains, Member of Parliament for Steveston—Richmond East. “Projects like the Richmond Cultural Centre Annex are vital to connecting people, supporting and elevating emerging artists, and building a community we can all enjoy living in.” 

The building that is now the Richmond Cultural Centre Annex was originally opened in September 1986 as the Minoru Place Seniors Activity Centre by then-Mayor Gil Blair. The Seniors Society ran programs there for over three decades, relocating to the newly-built Minoru Centre for Active Living in 2020.

“The Richmond Arts Coalition is excited that the Cultural Centre Annex has come to fruition,” said Jane Fernyhough, Chair of the Richmond Arts Coalition. “Richmond is already home to a multitude of experienced and up and coming artists, and this new Annex is yet another opportunity to showcase that talent. The increased opportunities it offers for arts programs and arts creation are a tremendous and welcome addition to the cultural ecology of our community.”

After Council approved reimagining the building into a vibrant, functional space for Richmond’s arts community, the facility played an interim role as the Emergency Response Centre, providing safe, stable shelter for residents experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cultural Centre Annex also demonstrates the city’s commitment to environmental awareness with 88 high-output solar panels installed on the roof to provide sustainable energy. These panels will generate 41,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year for the building—equivalent to the energy consumption of four residential homes.

The Annex will support existing programs at the nearby Richmond Cultural Centre including the Richmond Arts Centre, Richmond Art Gallery and the Richmond Museum. The Richmond Cultural Centre Annex is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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