Charlotte Fresia, Eric Fresia, and Sam Fresia performed at the Grace Jollymore Joyce Arts Centre as part of Canada Day celebrations last year. File photo

A new sponsorship program has been created in the hopes of businesses and individuals contributing to the local arts centre.

The board of directors of the Grace Jollymore Joyce Arts Centre, known to many as The Grace, are launching a Partner with the Grace program. Money from the program would go toward the operations and programming of the non-profit facility operated under the Creamery Square Arts Society. Board members were also presenting to the Municipality of Colchester County as part of their application for a grant to assist with operations.

Kathleen Hicks, the vice-chairperson and secretary, says sponsorship packages will be going out to local businesses.

“By sending this out, it’s a way of letting the business community this facility exists for them, there’s an opportunity to partner with The Grace, and allows them to make a contribution,” she said. “It’s to let them know there is a need for funding. We want to me the community feel they have more ownership in the space here.”

“Plus, it reminds people we are down here,” said Anne MacKeen, the chairperson.

Because the facility is a non-profit space, they’re constantly looking at funding options. About one-third of the funding comes from government, with another third raised through rentals of the facility and shows. That leaves one-third to come from donations, whether from private donors or sponsors.

Hicks said the facility operates on about $60,000 per year, however their hope is to bring that to $90,000, so a management position can also be funded. She said many things are connected – programming is often needed to receive grant money, and a management position would help get that programming in place. Funding can’t come about without policies in place and back budgets available, but Hicks says they have things put together to start moving forward.

“It’s a complex web,” she said.

The Grace’s season runs from about April to December. Last year’s season saw a total of 22 performances – five featured professional artists out of province, seven featured local professional artists, and 10 were local artists. There were 10 visual art exhibitions in the Ice House Gallery – five professional and five local amateur.

For the 2018-19 season, seven shows are already booked, including a Fibre Arts Fair on Aug. 24 during TataFest. A production of ‘Oliver’ is also in the works for the fall.

The North Shore Players use the facility once a month for their Theatre Games/Improv night, and The Grace hosts monthly open mic nights featuring local talent.

“One of the big things that’s exciting is the New Glasgow Youth Theatre has been coming in the summer to put on a performance,” said MacKeen.

The Grace is also partnering with the Tatamagouche Library, and Hicks is hopeful of that new partnership.

“We will be more involved with young people, especially for when Oliver rolls around,” said Hicks.

The Grace’s sponsorship program has five levels to choose from, ranging from $100 to $1,000 for individuals or businesses.

For more information on the sponsorship program, or joining the board of directors, contact Fred Maybee at 902-657-3500 or arts@creamerysquare.ca, or Anne MacKeen at 902-657-2214 or acm_3@hotmail.com.