By Ashley Goodfellow
Special to Focus
It’s time to let the public see, first-hand, what $13 million dollars and a year-and-a-half of work can do to revitalize what was once known as the Peel Heritage Complex.
Rebranded as the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA), the region’s multidisciplinary hub of arts and culture will unveil the art gallery in its first-phase opening on Sunday, Sept. 30.
With almost three times as much space to exhibit art, the renovated facility boasts 2,070 sq. ft. to exhibit its permanent collection and 2.580 sq. ft. of space for temporary exhibits. As well, there is now 2,000 sq. ft. of community gallery space.
Now three levels, the art gallery also features a studio, an impressive upper lobby with a reception/cafe area and a spacious main lobby.
PAMA manager Claire Loughheed said the facility was designed with the community in mind: the Art Gallery has space for the community to learn and connect with art, including a dry studio, a wet studio and an area where free family programming will take place. The new space will work with families, community groups and schools, she said.
Some of the exhibits set to mark the opening include Cover— works of Lyn Carter— which is a mesmerizing journey through fabric-covered organic forms of tremendous proportions.
The phase one opening will also feature Passages: a photo-based exhibition featuring artists include Sara Angelucci, Greg Staats, William Eakin, Donald Rance and Vid Ingelevics, who have created a special installation based on images from the Region of Peel Archives’ outstanding collection of mid-20th century photography.
At the opening celebration, which runs 2:30 to 5 p.m., guests can tour the art gallery, create watercolour postcards in PAMA’s new studio spaces, make a fabric sculpture (inspired by Carter’s exhibit), and take a behind-the-scenes tour of PAMA’s state-of-the-art storage facility.
There will also be an opportunity to be entertained by The Cube— a performance piece by Peter Jarvis.
Phase two of the opening, happening Nov. 17 and 18, will include the Museum and Archives. The full site, said Loughheed, will be completely operational on Feb. 18, 2013, in time for Family Day.
Each of the three openings will feature free programs and events for all to enjoy.
“Now it’s our job to make PAMA even more exciting and powerful and engaging,” said Loughheed.
When it is fully open, PAMA will be one of only three places in Canada that combines an art gallery, museum and archive facility under one roof. This unified space will provide an opportunity to showcase Peel’s history in a connected and integrated way. Programs geared towards every member of the family are currently being developed and will be offered throughout the many spaces within PAMA.
For more, visit PAMA.peelregion.ca
By Ashley Goodfellow