As the province prepares for reopening of indoor entertainment, West Vancouver’s Kay Meek Arts Centre has good news to share as it moves into the future.
Three years after launching a major fundraising campaign, the Centre has succeeded in achieving the $4 million target toward upgrades in accessibility, equipment renewal, and new program spaces. Says Kay Meek executive director Rob Gloor: “Vibrant communities are made even stronger through strong support of arts programs and facilities. We’re proud to announce that the Kay Meek Capital Campaign has successfully reached its phase one goal with support from all levels of government, the business sector, and individual community leaders. We are tremendously grateful to all of our donors.”
Chief among the changes made to the North Shore facility during the COVID pandemic is an extensive upgrade to its Studio Theatre. And thanks to a significant single gift made toward those renovations—which include the addition of a universal washroom and new seating, along with state-of-the-art sound and lighting—the space will henceforth be known by its new name: the McEwen Theatre.
“Today,” says Gloor, “we’re thrilled to recognize one outstanding individual donation by naming the Studio Theatre in honour of philanthropist and arts champion Irene McEwen. Irene has given constant encouragement to the work of the Kay Meek Arts Centre, and her generous gift helps to ensure its ongoing role as the cultural heart of our community.”
Adds Ms. McEwen: “The Kay Meek Arts Centre is a wonderful part of life on the North Shore—it’s such a beautiful space for music and the arts. I began attending regularly when they introduced a new series of classical music, which I love, and I’ve been a keen supporter ever since.
When I learned of the Kay Meek capital campaign, I saw an opportunity to make a big difference close to home,” says McEwen. “I knew my gift would encourage others, and help to build momentum toward the $4 million goal. I am pleased to be part of such a successful campaign and look forward to a time when we can attend live performances again soon.”
Coming from a well-known patron of the Vancouver and North Shore arts community, Irene McEwen’s donation stands as the single largest private contribution to the Kay Meek Art Centre’s ambitious Capital Campaign. A former teacher, who also worked in broadcasting and real estate, McEwen has been a supporter of the organization since the opening of Kay Meek in 2004, increasing her commitment in 2018 with the introduction of the Arts Centre’s classical music series.
Irene McEwen’s philanthropy has been felt across the whole of Vancouver, but her commitment in this case comes with a personal touch. The Kay Meek Arts Centre satisfies a long-cherished desire to support a cultural space of significance inside the North Shore community that she calls home.
There were several other extremely generous gestures made to the Arts Centre’s Capital Campaign from donors including PARC Retirement Living, Jo Lynne Hoegg, Bob and Brenda McGill, Reema Faris, and chair of the campaign committee, Patricia Bowles. Those contributions and many others funded extensive improvements beyond those made to the McEwen Theatre.
Meanwhile, a recently launched Encore Campaign is already closing in on half of its $500,000 goal, ensuring sustainable funding for long-term maintenance and additional post-COVID initiatives geared towards audience safety and live-streaming capabilities. As the fulfilment of this final objective looms into view, an enhanced Kay Meek Arts Centre looks forward to a new and exhilarating beginning in a reawakened world.
To find out more about the renovations, and future plans, or to make a donation to support Kay Meek Arts Centre visit kaymeek.com/capital-campaign-1