Eight new tenants get comfortable

Local arts groups will be sharing the J.K. Tett Centre art space when renovations are done in 2013

The J.K. Tett Centre is the only portion of the larger Tett Centre that is still owned by the City of Kingston — the other two thirds were sold to Queen’s in 2006.
The J.K. Tett Centre is the only portion of the larger Tett Centre that is still owned by the City of Kingston — the other two thirds were sold to Queen’s in 2006.

What does Theatre Kingston have in common with the Kingston Lapidary Club?

They are both going to be moving into the J.K. Tett Centre together, along with eight other local Kingston arts groups.

The City of the Kingston purchased the Tett Centre space in the 1970s to house cultural and arts groups. In 2006, the City of Kingston sold two thirds of the property — the Stella Buck building and the stables — to Queen’s for the development of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, with the J.K. Tett Centre being left to the City’s discretion.

Construction is now underway on renovations to the J.K. Tett Centre, the only portion of the centre that Queen’s doesn’t own, with an expected completion date of September 2013.

Cultural Director for the City of Kingston Brian McCurdy said the City is leasing the J.K. Tett Centre to a non-profit organization comprised of the new tenants and locals called Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning.

There’s a chance for cross-fertilization between the Queen’s and Kingston art scenes, McCurdy said. “There’s the potential for us to hopefully draw on the expertise of the faculty at Queen’s that are involved in the arts and will be using the Isabel Bader Centre.”

Students would also have the chance to pursue arts classes outside of Queen’s.

“The more craft-based tenants also have classes,” McCurdy said.

“There will be a gallery with regular rotating shows and three spaces that are publically available for rent.”

The Davies Lounge of the Grand Theatre was the setting for the Kingston School of Dance, The Potters’ Guild, Salon Theatre/Macdonald Project, and Joe’s Musical Instrument Lending Library among others, came together and discussed their plans for the space they’re all about to jointly inhabit.

The eight artist groups gathered together on July 12 for an evening of pecha kucha — an informal meet and greet.

Pecha kucha, a Japanese term for the sound of chit chat, limits artists to showing twenty images for twenty seconds each.

With only 20 seconds to speak per slide, some good-natured humour ensued. Audience members chuckled as presenters struggled to keep up with the fast-paced slides.

The Kingston School of Dance reminded attendees that dance is for everyone and to the audience’s delight, Joe’s M.I.L.L. told their story with live accompaniment on guitar and violin.

The tenants of the space will be able to move into the space after construction is done next year.

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