Life

Generous gift to the Arts Community

By Miriam King, Bradford Times

From left, BWG & District Community Foundation members Gary Baynes, Bob Evans, Hernan Burgos, with donor Doug Osborne - presenting a cheque to Jim Keenan for the Bradford Arts Centre, as BWG Deputy Mayor James Leduc and Bill Jermyn, Bradford Fine Artists treasurer, look on, at the Centre in Bradford. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

From left, BWG & District Community Foundation members Gary Baynes, Bob Evans, Hernan Burgos, with donor Doug Osborne - presenting a cheque to Jim Keenan for the Bradford Arts Centre, as BWG Deputy Mayor James Leduc and Bill Jermyn, Bradford Fine Artists treasurer, look on, at the Centre in Bradford. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

The Bradford Arts Centre received a huge boost, from local philanthropist Doug Osborne and the Bradford West Gwillimbury & District Community Foundation.
Osborne, a regular supporter of school scholarships, Global Giving and local charities, made a $15,000 contribution to the Centre, through the Community Foundation.

The funding will be used to further the vision of a Bradford Arts Centre, providing a venue at 66 Barrie St. in Bradford to showcase top-notch established artists and musicians, as well as emerging local artists, providing training, workshops and performance space.

“There are some renovations needed to make it appropriate,” says Jim Keenan. Already completed are the professional sound system, and a 17' by 20' stage within the 200 seat venue.

“The next renovation is to make this facility year-round, with air conditioning,” Keenan says. Other plans include the installation of an electronic sign, to promote upcoming events; modifications to the 1200 sq. ft. space at the rear of the church, to  make it more suitable for art exhibits, workshops and public meetings; and installation of a lift, to make the downstairs fully accessible.

Keenan was delighted with the donation from Osborne and the Community Foundation. “Doug has been a patron of many of our events, and a patron of the arts in general,” he said, praising the Foundation's role in giving back to the community.

The Bradford Arts Centre is also pursuing other funding opportunities and grants, including funding through the Town's  Downtown Community Improvement Plan Area incentive program.

Deputy Mayor James Leduc, chair of the Arts & Culture Advisory Committee, praised the Centre, and the work of the volunteers who have made it all possible. “We're looking forward to seeing the CIP application, to help build on this wonderful Arts Centre.”

The Community Foundation is looking for more 'angels' like Doug Osborne, and for individuals who want to get involved in building a strong foundation, for community organizations, charities and activities. To learn more about the BWG & District Community Foundation, see bwgdcf on Facebook.com or bwgdcf.ca.

“It's just like a hobby,” says Osborne of his philanthropy. “The more you do it, the more you want to do it.”

Coming up at the Bradford Arts Centre: The Bradford Arts Centre, located at 66 Barrie St., has big plans for its first full season of entertainment – starting with the  “Tastes and Sounds of Bradford” on September 23.   It's a multicultural celebration of Bradford West Gwillimbury's varied roots,  and an antidote to the rising tide of racial intolerance and xenophobia. No time for intolerance here. Guests will be too busy enjoying the authentic foods and music of their neighbours – with food and conversation starting at 6 p.m.; a guest speaker at 7 p.m.;  followed at 7:30 by an evening of music from around the globe. So far, groups and individuals representing 11 different cultures will be participating. All are welcome. Admission is by Freewill offering, and a donation of non-perishable food to the Helping Hand Food Bank. Also on the 23rd, the Bradford Arts Centre will be announcing its inaugural Concert Series. Watch for more information, or visit bradfordartscentre.org.