Heart’s Con­tent Re­gional Cen­tre for the Arts of­fi­cially opens

Con­ver­sion of former church prop­erty re­quired ded­i­cated work

The Compass - - News - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The orig­i­nal plan was to tear the church down af­ter Hey­field United in Heart’s Con­tent was de­con­se­crated in 2009.

“We acted al­most im­me­di­ately to see what could be done to pre­vent this,” Claude Rock­wood, past-present of the Mizzen Her­itage So­ci­ety, said Satur­day, June 17, speak­ing in front of a large crowd right where the min­is­ter used to stand.

Eight years later, Rock­wood found him­self with a pair of scis­sors in his hand, given the op­por­tu­nity to cut a cer­e­mo­nial rib­bon and of­fi­cially open the Heart’s Con­tent Re­gional Cen­tre for the Arts.

The grand open­ing cul­mi­nated years of hard work for vol­un­teers from the so­ci­ety, which pur­chased the build­ing — com­pleted in 1878 — for $1 and se­cured con­sid­er­able fund­ing from the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ment, the Her­itage Foun­da­tion of New­found­land and Labrador and the gen­eral public to re­al­ize its goal.

“So now we have a build­ing de­signed solely for the pre­sen­ta­tion and preser­va­tion of the arts — the first of its kind in the Trin­ity South shore I do be­lieve,” said a beam­ing John Warren, pres­i­dent of the so­ci­ety.

Bay Roberts com­mu­nity choir Ce­leste per­formed a few songs to help break in the per­for­mance space and test its acous­tics. New­found­land folk group “The Once” per­formed a con­cert later that night, and Sun­day marked the open­ing of an art ex­hibit ti­tled “Ties to the Avalon.”

Over 100 peo­ple turned up for the grand open­ing cer­e­mony, which also in­cluded a few words from gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives like Car­bon­ear-Trin­ity-Bay de Verde MHA Steve Crocker.

“We see lots of these pro­jects, and peo­ple take the idea and do it, but very few ever get to the point where this one is to­day, and it’s truly a com­mend­able feat when you see peo­ple put so much time and ef­fort into a fa­cil­ity like this one,” said Crocker.

Heart’s Con­tent Mayor Fred Cumby of­fered his thanks to the Mizzen Her­itage So­ci­ety, com­mend­ing them on the strength of char­ac­ter they showed in see­ing the pro­ject through to the end.

“They’ve been through a lot, and it’s be­cause of the strength of that com­mit­tee, their tenac­ity, their un­will­ing­ness to give up, that this build­ing is here to­day, and as the mayor of this town I’m very grate­ful that we have such a ded­i­cated com­mit­tee,” he said.

Rock­wood of­fered fur­ther thoughts on the open­ing shortly be­fore he cut the cer­e­mo­nial rib­bon.

“When I walked into this build­ing this af­ter­noon, 139 year-old build­ing, I couldn’t help but think what a won­der­ful and great feel­ing I had know­ing that all our dreams, all our as­pi­ra­tions, all the hard work … had fi­nally come to bear fruit,” he said.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COMPASS

Over 100 peo­ple at­tended the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Heart’s Con­tent Re­gional Cen­tre for the Arts. Here they stand to sing “O’ Canada.”

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COMPASS

Mem­bers of the Mizzen Her­itage So­ci­ety joined politi­cians on the stage to of­fi­cially open the Heart’s Con­tent Re­gional Cen­tre for the Arts on Satur­day, June 17. Stand­ing, from the left, are sec­re­tary Ed Arnott, vice-pres­i­dent Paulette Cumby, MHA Steve Crocker, Mayor Fred Cumby, past-pres­i­dent Claude Rock­wood, MP Judy Foote, trea­surer Alice Cumby and pres­i­dent John Warren.

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