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FORT SIMPSON, Northwest Territories, April 7, 2008 – The rich heritage and the current culture of the Deh Cho region will be preserved and promoted, thanks to support from the Government of Canada.The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non Status Indians, today announced funding, on behalf of the Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, to the Open Sky Creative Society for the development of the Fort Simpson Heritage Centre.
Funding of up to $250,000 will be used to acquire the former Catholic rectory building and transform it into a cultural heritage centre. The building will be renovated to house a museum, a small theatre, an art gallery, and studio space for visiting artists and educational activities. It will also contain offices, storage space, research facilities, and a retail outlet. The project is a joint initiative of the Fort Simpson Historical Society and the Open Sky Creative Society.
“The Fort Simpson Heritage Centre is a significant project that will benefit the community and give Canadians access to the region’s history and culture,” said Minister Strahl. “The Government of Canada is committed to supporting facilities that create a legacy of excellence and keep culture alive in northern communities.”
“The Government of Canada is pleased to support arts and culture in the Deh Cho region,” said Minister Verner. “Supporting projects such as the Fort Simpson Heritage Centre contributes to the cultural vitality of the region by increasing access to quality arts and heritage facilities, to the benefit of the arts, artists, and audiences.”
“We are so excited to hear about this support from Canadian Heritage,” said Lynn Canney, Executive Director of the Open Sky Creative Society. “We are now looking forward to realizing our organization’s long term goals, as well as to living the results of years of community efforts by moving into our new home. Mahsi cho!”
“This support through the Cultural Spaces Canada program will assure that the Open Sky Creative Society will be blessed with the capacity to present a diverse set of arts programming in a professional calibre venue on a year round basis,” said Michael Blyth, Festival Coordinator and Artistic Director of the Open Sky Creative Society. “This will establish Fort Simpson as an important cultural centre for the Deh Cho, the Northwest Territories, and the North at large.”
The Government of Canada has provided this funding through the Cultural Spaces Canada program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. This program contributes to improved physical conditions for artistic creativity and presentation or exhibition. It is designed to improve access for Canadians to the performing, visual, and media arts, as well as to museum collections and heritage exhibitions.
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages
Office of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non Status Indians
A/Director of Communications and Executive Services
Prairies and Northern Region
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