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Qz Nx “It is an incredible opportunity that must be seized” – Marie-Pierre Simoneau – L’Express - The Times Hub

“It is an incredible opportunity that must be seized” – Marie-Pierre Simoneau – L’Express

“It is an incredible opportunity that must be seized” – Marie-Pierre Simoneau – L’Express

CULTURE. The Maison des arts could not have asked for a better opportunity. While the government intends to set foot on the accelerator of the economy, the venue has just completed studies on the construction of the multifunctional performance hall in downtown Drummondville.

In September, the Ministry of Culture and Communications launched the Aid for the development of cultural infrastructures program to support projects for the construction, expansion, renovation and restoration of cultural infrastructures.

Since this announcement, the Maison des arts has been working hard to complete the file, in connection with the construction of the new performance hall.

“It is an incredible opportunity that must be seized. It’s a call for projects that arrives in a unique way, says Executive Director Marie-Pierre Simoneau. This program makes it possible to obtain funding for 70%, that is to say 35% from the federal government, 35% from the provincial and 30% from the municipality. ”

The multifunctional performance hall project is valued at $ 17.2 million. “With the program, we would be able to fetch up to $ 12 million”, certifies Ms. Simoneau.

Remember that the Maison des arts has been working there since 2016. “The Maison des arts had limitations in terms of its multidisciplinary mission. The Maison des arts has its configuration and its spaces. We don’t have a gauge to do standing shows. We wanted to have a multifunctional broadcasting space to deploy a very diversified program, ”she explains.

The City of Drummondville gave the green light in 2017. Over the years, several studies have been carried out on potential sites, sound and acoustics, then traffic and parking, lists Ms. Simoneau.

The financial assistance program is timely for the Maison des arts team. “If we had not had all the feasibility studies and reports that were made upstream, we would never have been able to complete this document. He asks for a lot of annexes. He asks to be very completed in the reflections and the work. “

The call for projects ends February 26.

A coveted place

Several sites were studied in the city center. After analysis, the Maison des arts keeps in its sights the building of 161 Heriot left vacant since October 2016 by the Jean Coutu pharmacy. “The Jean Coutu site is the recommendation of the study carried out by the firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. We work from that. We are still keeping our way out if things don’t work with this site, ”says Ms. Simoneau.

According to the business plan, the Maison des arts plans to demolish the building in order to rebuild it. “We want to bring the building up to date so that it is current,” adds the general manager.

A precise vision

The Maison des arts has a precise vision of the future performance hall. When the bleachers are installed, a total of 350 to 400 people can be seated. The room has the advantage of being flexible. The seats can be stowed away, giving a whole new look to the place. The vast space will make it possible to organize shows where the public will remain standing, which has the effect of doubling the reception capacity.

“It’s a different playing field from what we are currently experiencing with the Maison des arts model. The room will be of variable geometry. Also, it is a room which will have a technology to make multimedia. Technological arts are super important, ”says Ms. Simoneau.

In any case, the Maison des arts team wishes to think outside the box by focusing on an approach focused on creation, experimentation, production and distribution.

The preliminary sketch of the entrance hall of the future building. (Photo: courtesy)

Towards a new audience

With this proposal, a new audience is coveted. “We want to create a cultural life in the city center. We also want it to stimulate the cultural curiosity of citizens. There is a younger clientele that is targeted. It is a pool of the population that is important. Demographic studies show that young people aged 15 to 34 are going to be as large in number as those aged 50 and over. We have to worry about it. ”

During the coming months, Ms. Simoneau intends to continue the work by approaching various people in the field. “We will start by reconnecting with the various players in the territory who already do programming and broadcasting, to see how we can collaborate. There are many things that can be done in complementarity, ”she maintains, referring in particular to the Holy Peace.

The Maison des arts hopes to be able to open the doors of the multifunctional room within five years.

Asked about the relevance of such a place in Drummondville, the arts and culture delegate, William Morales, preferred to refrain from comments. “Given that we are still in discussions with the municipal council, I could not position myself. There is still a lot of data and negotiations, ”he said.

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