With one strategic investment the province is helping to preserve a heritage building and stimulating Cape Breton’s cultural and innovation communities.
Premier Stephen McNeil announced today, April 4, $3.2 million in funding for a project that will transform former Holy Angels Convent into the Cape Breton Centre for Arts, Culture and Innovation. New Dawn owns the building and is leading the project.
Premier McNeil said the new centre will stimulate Cape Breton’s creative economy and provide lasting benefits to all Nova Scotians.
“This project blends the best of Nova Scotia,” said Premier McNeil. “We are protecting heritage, supporting our culture and allowing innovation to bloom. We want to see even more innovation in our province’s cultural sector and growth in the creative economy.”
The centre will provide affordable and quality space for artists and innovators, social enterprises and not-for-profits. Using the cultural sandbox philosophy, the centre will provide mixed spaces so artists and innovators can work together under one roof.
The project will see the four floors of the 40,000-square-foot building renovated to be the future home of Cape Breton musicians, dancers and dance studios, visual artist studios, theatre groups, artists-in-residence, an innovation hub and technology start-ups.
“It is no secret that Cape Breton Island is rich in its artistic and innovation heritage,” says New Dawn president Rankin MacSween. “The re-opening of the former Holy Angels Convent as the Cape Breton Centre for Arts, Culture and Innovation will provide a permanent home for 150 artists and innovators. The building will retain its heritage character and presence on George Street but will be fully re-built inside to include modern building materials, systems and conveniences. This is a project that will undoubtedly contribute to the ongoing revitalization of the north end, Sydney’s downtown core, and the island.”
“Providing space is one of the most important things we can do to support startups,” said Gavin Uhma, Cape Breton tech entrepreneur. “We generally see small, talented founding teams with great ideas but very little capital. They need Internet and they need space to get their businesses off the ground. This investment will have a positive and practical impact on the future of innovation in Cape Breton.”
New Dawn Enterprises Limited is the oldest Community Development Corporation in Canada. It is a private, volunteer-directed, social enterprise dedicated to community building.
Promotion of creativity and innovation is a vital part of the province’s recently released culture strategy, Nova Scotia’s Culture Action Plan: Creativity and Community. You can read the full plan at novascotia.ca/culture/.