March 23, 2018

Today the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced a historic $7 million in funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund in support of Arts Umbrella, a nationally renowned non-profit arts education organization for young people based in British Columbia. The funding will support the re-construction of Arts Umbrella’s new home on Granville Island at 1400 Johnston Street.

“Our government believes that all children, regardless of age or circumstance, deserve access to artistic and cultural learning activities in their community,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “As stewards of a future generation of artists, Arts Umbrella sparks creativity in all who walk through its doors. We are proud to support the next phase of Arts Umbrella’s growth as it moves to its new space, so that it can continue to inspire students for years to come.”

In November 2017, the Province of British Columbia announced the transfer of the Granville Island building to Arts Umbrella. Today, the Honourable Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture announced an additional contribution of $1.4 million, which will provide operational sustainability in the years to come.

“Thanks to Arts Umbrella, thousands of young British Columbians enjoy opportunities to learn and grow their skills in the arts,” said the Honourable Lisa Beare, British Columbia Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “I’m happy to support Arts Umbrella’s new facility expansion. It means that many more of B.C.’s young people will be empowered to take that first step on the journey towards a career in the creative arts.”

Today, Arts Umbrella also officially launched a private sector capital campaign to raise an additional $20 million to realize this transformative project. The campaign has already raised more than $10 million, including a $1.5 million donation from the Richardson Family Foundation, as well as several $1 million gifts from donors including the Audain Foundation, John and Nina Cassils, Goldcorp Inc., Richard and Carol Henriquez, David and Darrell Mindell, Barry and Drinda Scott, along with a generous gift from the Christopher Foundation.

“Arts Umbrella is constantly pushing boundaries,” says Paul Larocque, President & CEO of Arts Umbrella. “This new building will allow us to keep this forward momentum and provide young people with limitless opportunities. We are incredibly grateful to the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, and our extraordinary lead donors for their generosity in investing in the next generations of young people in our country.”

Arts Umbrella has arrived at a critical juncture in its development as an impactful community arts organization. Its current facility on Granville Island— a converted 1930s nail factory—is in poor condition from overuse, does not allow for state-of-the-art technologies, and is bursting at the seams due to high demand. The new building will more than double Arts Umbrella’s net square footage, ensuring innovative spaces and technologies, increased access to arts education programs for children and youth, and expanding our significant and ongoing contribution to the creative economy.

Arts Umbrella provides the highest quality dance, theatre, and visual arts programming for young people and, for nearly 40 years, we have helped more than half a million children and youth explore their potential and build community. Each year, we serve more than 20,000 young people, reaching close to 16,000 through free community programs across Metro Vancouver.

“Today is a great day for all artists and students in Vancouver,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Thanks to financial support from all levels of government, Arts Umbrella’s current building will be transformed into a new creative hub at the heart of Granville Island. With thousands of students enrolled in its programs, Arts Umbrella brings together youth from all different backgrounds and neighbourhoods in Vancouver to explore a shared love for the arts.”

Arts Umbrella’s New Location

  • November 2017, the Province of British Columbia announced that Arts Umbrella would take over occupancy of 1400 Johnstone Street, Granville Island.
  • The 50,000 net-square-foot building is located directly across from Arts Umbrella’s current core facility on Granville Island.
  • Award-winning architect Richard Henriquez, O.C. of Henriquez Partners Architects (HPA) will lead the renewal of this Patkau-designed building which was built in the early 1990s.
  • Renovations will create a purpose-built arts education facility that will include: 7 dance studios; 5 theatre & music studios; 8 visual, applied & media arts studio; a 160-seat professional theatre; a publicly accessible exhibition gallery; and new workshop spaces.
  • We are projecting to open our doors and begin programming in fall 2019.
  • Granville Island is managed by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)



For more information (media only), please contact:

Eric Lowe
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Arts Umbrella
604-681-5268 x104