Stronger collaboration would help annual festival

  • Jan. 29, 2014 5:55 p.m.

A newspaper article on Dec. 27, 2013 on the Festival of the Performing Arts in Red Deer outlined the financial difficulties of the festival. This festival was organized by the Kiwanis Club of Red Deer in 1964.

A festival which attracts as many as 1,000 young musicians from the Central Alberta requires a large space to conduct the musical event. Red Deer College has been very gracious in making its facilities available at the end of the College winter term. College Art Centre staff have been a great help in the organization of the event.

The Festival Board of Directors now face both new administrative costs as a result of cutbacks to the College budget and reallocation of the staff who have assisted the Festival. Rent for the College has increased for the festival (and in another four years) will increase 25% compared to last year.

Many Red Deer citizens have made significant financial contributions to the College over time. Now would be a good time for the College to contribute back to a Red Deer organization devoted to the development of Alberta youth.

Financial relief to the festival in the form of reduced rents would work to strengthen both the Festival, and in the longer term, the College. It could be that without such financial help the festival will have to find other locations in the City or discontinue its operation altogether.

In fairness to the College Arts Centre administration, I don’t think the Centre has ever received sufficient operating funds to manage its service.

However, the use of the Centre was regulated by a Joint Use Agreement with the City of Red Deer. The Agreement was constructed to ensure that the Centres’ use would be shared with citizens of Red Deer. The Festival of the Performing Arts is a festival planned for City and district young people, and should benefit from the original agreement the City made with the College.

Richard J. Huddleston

Red Deer