The Cobequid Cultural Society is that much closer toward making the dream of a local arts centre a reality. The society president credits a strong board for the leaps and bounds the project has made over the past year.
If you're a dancer, an actor, a painter or a photographer and you dream of sharing your talent with the world - or at least with HRM - unless you live downtown chances are you're doing it in a small school gymnasium or the basement of a church. Currently these are the only type of spaces available for artists in the northwest region of the municipality, but if Don Flemming and his Cobequid Cultural Society board have anything to do with it, it won't be long until you're in the spotlight.
Much has been written about the society, officially known as the Cobequid Cultural Centre of The Arts Society or CCCAS, since it was formed in 2004, but it's never been this close to becoming more than just a dream.
"Everything is going a lot faster now," said Flemming, who has been president for one year. "It's all because of the team. We have gone from 11 to 14 board members, we've put strong committees in place ... we have structural plans and strategies. There are no deadheads on this board, just doers."
The society has spent a lot of time working on the design of the free-standing structure and know exactly they want it to look like. Now they are just waiting for the architectural drawings, which they will have in their hands by early March. They have to see how big the structure needs to be to house what they want - it has to be feasible. Then they'll make whatever changes are necessary. Once that part is ready they will have a model they can fundraise toward.
"We have money from fund raising," said Flemming. "But when we have the model we'll be able to go to the public and the government for grants."
The society has a couple of building sites in mind, but again they can't make any decisions until the final plan is in place. One thing they know for sure is that it has to be accessible.
"Location, location, location," said Flemming. "It's not just about Sackville and Bedford it will be the hub for people from communities surrounding there ... like Fall River and Mount Uniacke."
The building will be state of the art with seating for 500. The peripheral of the building will house rooms for everything from photography exhibits to yoga classes.
Flemming, 70, has just retired as singer/band manager of The Corvettes. He's decided to disband the popular group in order to concentrate his volunteer time on this project so dear to his heart. He is determined to see this project that has been going on for more than eight years through to fruition.
"It's happening soon," he said. "I can say we'll have something in two and a half years," he said.
For more information on the society visit www.cccas.ca