Thousands of people flock to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows every year to enjoy the natural beauty of the communities and the vibrant arts and culture scene.
More than 80,000 people visit the ACT Arts Centre in Maple Ridge every year to take in more than 40 professional productions of live music, theatre, dance, film, variety acts, comedy and family programming.
In addition, the Maple Ridge Gallery curates and presents six major exhibitions annually, with several others occupying spaces elsewhere throughout the facility.
The ACT also serves as a rental facility for promoters, community groups and many film shoots.
“Since the tolls came off the bridges, we have seen an increase in attendees coming to Maple Ridge from Langley and Surrey,” said executive director of the ACT Arts Centre, Curtis Pendleton.
“Buyers from outside of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows accounted for 34 per cent of ticket buyers last season,” she added.
“Our theatre is one of the larger theatres in the region, with a magnificent lobby space,” Pendleton continued.
“The ambiance and experience it provides, paired with a variety of professional programming appears to be a factor in attracting people here.”
Ticket sales revenue during the 2017-2018 season was $902,156, that included series revenue and all rental productions. There have been 43,600 tickets sold so far this season.
“In some national economic impact studies in the States, for every ticket purchased to an arts event, up to $31 was generated in additional economic activity,” noted Pendleton.
Some of this additional spending would be on services such as parking, meals and babysitters.
“Though Maple Ridge hasn’t compiled that data, if even a fraction of this holds true here, the ACT is making a significant contribution to the economy of Maple Ridge,” said Pendleton.
Also, ACT programs served more than 3,000 children last season in classes, camps and after-school programs.
Pendleton would like to see more family programming at the ACT next year.
In Pitt Meadows, the city is developing a 2019 plan within the next month.
However, there are already plans being thrown around for a wood exhibit, sculpture, a fibre art and textiles show, ceramic art show at the Pitt Meadows Art Gallery, which opened Nov. 18 of last year.
The new gallery, which is located in the former Visitor Information Centre at 12492 Harris Rd, was part of a city initiative to expand arts and culture in Pitt Meadows.
Susann Sigmund, arts and cultural services coordinator with the City of Pitt Meadows, said plans include revisiting the more successful shows again from this past year, like the Art of Up-cycling, where everyday junk is turned into works of art, as well as another show for youth in the community, and the Art of Indigenous People.
She is also hoping to fit in a photography show.
“We’ve done as many [shows] as humanly possible this year. And then we’re going to be focusing on filling those gaps for next year that we weren’t able to accomplish,” said Sigmund.