New, 5,000 square foot artistic learning environment will significantly improve access to the arts for children in need across Metro Vancouver

Vancouver & Surrey (July 20, 2011) – Arts Umbrella broke ground today on a new permanent facility at The Shops at Morgan Crossing in South Surrey. Construction will begin immediately and is expected to be complete by fall 2011. Once complete, the new 5,000 square foot facility will significantly increase access to the high-quality arts education programs for which Arts Umbrella is known.

Mayor of Surrey Dianne Watts presided over the groundbreaking ceremony. “Arts Umbrella has become an invaluable organization in Surrey by providing our children and youth with the gift of arts education, and we’re extremely pleased they are now establishing a permanent home in our community,” says Mayor Dianne Watts.

“We know that Arts Umbrella has embraced the City of Surrey’s ‘Child and Youth Friendly City Strategy’ and together we can continue to ensure all children, regardless of their financial circumstances, have the opportunity to explore and unleash their creativity and artistic potential.”

The organization has been working with the Surrey School District since 2009 to deliver arts programs free-of-charge in vulnerable neighbourhoods. Arts Umbrella delivers outreach programs at Lena Shaw Elementary and Mary Jane Shannon Elementary.

With the ability to deliver tuition-based programs and expand free-of-charge programs, Arts Umbrella is poised to become an integral part of the Surrey community and continue its mission to inspire kids for life through the arts.

“Access to arts programs can have a huge, positive impact on the lives of children and youth,” said Lucille Pacey, president and CEO of Arts Umbrella. “Our new facility will ensure that we can reach many more young people in their own communities. We are incredibly thankful to our local supporters – including Westminster Savings – for making us feel welcome, and for ensuring our mission becomes a reality for many more young people.”

The facility at The Shops at Morgan Crossing will deliver fully subsidized programs to children in need, as well as tuition-based programs. Initial programming will focus on visual and media arts, theatre, creative movement and music for children ages two to 12 years old.

“The Shops at Morgan Crossing is the natural location for Arts Umbrella’s South Surrey location,” said Leigh Ann Smith from The Shops at Morgan Crossing. “The new facility will make a wonderful addition to our growing community and huge impact on the families in our area.”

Arts Umbrella is also building a second 1,300 square foot location in Central Surrey. Tuition-based programs will be available for registration in late summer.

About The Shops at Morgan Crossing

Think downtown without the drive. The Shops at Morgan Crossing has transformed Morgan Heights at 24th Avenue and Croydon Drive into a new style of urban village. Designed by the award-winning Larco Group – the creative minds behind the Village at Park Royal – The Shops at Morgan Crossing gives shoppers a broad spectrum of sophisticated urban amenities including a gourmet cooking facility; B.C.‘s largest wine merchant; high-fashion shopping; and the only Gap, Banana Republic and Olsen Europe outlet locations in B.C.

About Arts Umbrella

A not-for-profit arts education organization for young people ages 2-19, Arts Umbrella reaches more than 25,000 children and youth annually through tuition-based and free-of-charge outreach programs. With innovative instruction in dance, theatre, music and visual and media arts, Arts Umbrella caters to kids of all artistic interests and skill levels from pre-school to advanced pre-professional training. Arts Umbrella is dedicated to making arts education available to as many children and youth as possible in Metro Vancouver, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.