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Phase II in progress

March 30, 2015

Since August 2014, the “Regroupement des organismes culturels de Sudbury” (ROCS) has been working with three specialized firms on the feasibility study of the Place des Arts project. Last December, a downtown site was identified as the ideal location for the arts centre because of its numerous advantages: highly visible, high pedestrian and motorized traffic and a municipal property identified as a “Cultural opportunity site” in the Downtown Masterplan.

In the last few months, five Anglophone arts organizations have confirmed their desire to join the seven ROCS member organizations and the Theatre Program of Laurentian University as regular users of the planned facilities. Together, these 13 entities promise to offer our community a diverse and inclusive year-round cultural calendar of arts & culture activities, as well as a high occupancy rate of the facilities ensuring a viable business model for the centre.

The feasibility study is progressing as scheduled. The project could well be undertaken as early as the fall of 2015.

The ROCS is grateful to FedNor, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sports, the Northern Heritage Fund, the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation, Laurentian University and its members for their financial contributions to this important planning phase of the project.

Site visits

Two series of site visits were held in the last few months. In January, a delegation from the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario and the Carrefour francophone visited six performing arts centres in Montreal. In February, the GNO visited several contemporary art centres and galleries.

Numerous best practices, design options and layouts were documented and photographed, while discussions with managers and residents of the premises allowed sharing views on more complex matters, such as governance mechanisms and day-to-day cohabitation.

It also demonstrated that the model of multi-user art centres is one that has already been adopted by many arts organizations for its advantages such as economies of scale, efficiency of the facilities with their high occupancy rates and accrued recognition for the artists, the producers and the presenters showcased.

For Laurentian’s Theatre program, an early partner of the project, the Place des Arts will offer students a privileged access to specialized facilities and to a pool of experts made up of creators, designers, production and technical personnel, as well as arts administrators and managers.

Bistro’s business plan

Following 12 months of calculations, formulas and analysis to determine traffic, potential sales, production costs, cash flow and start-up costs, our intern, Sophie Ducharme, is now an Excel expert!

But that’s only one aspect of what has been a great experience for her. With the support of the Innoweave program of the McConnell Foundation, Sophie was guided throughout the Bistro’s business plan development by three coaches that the ROCS thanks warmly for their contribution: Joanne LeBreton, from Collins Barrow, Simon Le Hénaff, from Collège Boréal and Denis Bertrand, from 50 Carleton.

Following several months of dedicated work on the start-up and operation of a restaurant-bar designed for the performing arts, results are very encouraging. It is estimated that approximately 60,000 people will visit Place des Arts during its first year. The Bistro will benefit from this traffic, especially in the evenings and weekends when performances, exhibits and events are offered.

With its strategic location, the Bistro’s business will grow rapidly and could become economically self-sufficient by the end of its second year of operation. This is welcome news for the centre and its tenants, as their audiences will be able to gather for a drink or a bite before and after events taking place elsewhere in the building.

The Bistro will also showcase its own programming, including concerts, poetry readings, tastings and gourmet events, receptions and launches. Its small stage will be made accessible to local and visiting artists at minimal costs.

The ROCS wishes to thank Sophie for her dedication as well as the Northern Heritage Fund for its financial support.

2015 Community Forum

Seven years after the first Community Forum of Greater Sudbury “Francophonie”, held in 2008, leaders of the francophone community are invited to the 2015 Forum on May 1st and 2nd to renew the vision and the community strategic plan for the next five years. The ROCS’ network of cultural workers will be taking part in the Forum, as will representatives of the seven Boards of its members.

These generous volunteers represent various sectors of the community: education, business and finance, marketing and communications and others. By giving their time and energy on an ongoing basis, they contribute to the vitality of the non-profit sector, and of the community as a whole.

Francophone leaders are invited to register to the 2015 Forum by contacting the Coordinator of the Forum, Marie-Ève Pépin at (705) 919-0929 or at forum2015@planifsudbury.ca.

ROCS’ briefs

In September 2014, the Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario received the highest provincial art distinction when it won the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.  On the eve of its 45th anniversary, this award is a testament to the TNO’s important contributions to the development of the arts in Ontario. Congratulations to Geneviève Pineault, Artistic Director of the company, and all of her team!

La Slague (Carrefour francophone), a music presenter, was also honoured last January at Contact ontarois, an annual provincial showcase for the performing arts, where it won the Vision-Innovation Award. This prize recognizes the artistic vision and innovative audience development of a presenter, which speaks to the quest for excellence at the heart of Stéphane Gauthier’s direction and his team’s work.

Last March, the publishing house Prise de parole saw two of its recent publications shortlisted in the Fiction category of the Champlain Awards, held annually under the auspices of the Québec City International Book Fair and the RÉCF, a national umbrella arts service organization for publishers. The shortlisted authors are Thierry Dimanche and Daniel H. Dugas. The laureate will be announced next April 8th during the Québec Book Fair.

The arrival of spring was celebrated again this year on March 27-28 with the third production of La Nuit émergente on Friday night and the 42nd Nuit sur l’étang on Saturday. This annual festival bringing together French music lovers was a great success again this year!