After 18 months of preparation, the J.K. Tett Centre is ready to be utilized by both Kingston residents and Queen’s students as a multi-purpose community arts space.
Opening its doors for the first time on Jan. 31, the Tett hosted a three-hour multimedia arts event entitled “The Whole Shebang”. It was here that attendees could experience firsthand what the Tett Centre will offer.
Andrea Nann, artistic director of Dreamwalker Dance Company and key organizer of “The Whole Shebang” event, said the goal for the event was to show how future tenants of the Tett will “collaborate creatively” in the shared space.
“We went through an extensive collaborative process with community members who all represented different members of the Tett organization,” Nann said.
Eight arts organizations in total will now call the Tett Centre home.
These include The Kingston Handloom Weavers and Spinners, The Kingston Potters’ Guild, Theatre Kingston, Kingston School of Dance, Kingston Arts Council, Modern Fuel, Joe’s M.I.L.L. and the Kingston Lapidary and Mineral Club.
Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre, who have now moved their space to the Tett Centre, were previously located at 307 King St. W.
Modern Fuel’s open gallery student volunteers, Abby Abric and Brittany Oates — both ArtSci ’16 — said the event was a success for Modern Fuel.
“It’s been steady and really busy,” Oates said. “People are getting up close with the art and really taking the time to look at it. We’ve had a lot of people come through today.” Both students said the Modern Fuel gallery will continue to display local and regional artists’ work.
The event showcased the organizations and provided interactive activities for guests.
Each of the eight organizations took up a room in the Tett as a station, allowing visitors to stop by and participate. Attendees were able to get involved with shadow puppetry, performance art, finger-painting, interactive dance, photography, drumming and a chance to view Modern Fuel’s contemporary art exhibition. Information about the new space and its tenants — available in the form of both pamphlets and volunteers — was available to visitors as they walked through the space.
The event was packed with over 200 people.
Another one of the Tett’s new collaborative members is Theatre Kingston, a production company that puts on three plays annually at the Grand Theatre.
Brett Christopher, artistic producer at Theatre Kingston as well as the treasurer on the Tett Centre’s board, said he believes the opening of the Tett Centre will positively affect Kingston’s art community.
“Bringing all of the creative groups together in the Tett Centre will put Kingston on the map for arts and culture,” Christopher said. “The whole reason this space was redone is so that it can be a companion to the Isabel Bader Theatre.
“That way, the two together can be combined to form a strong hub of power for culture in a way that’s educational and has a performance component, which is really cool.”
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