Submitted by Donny White
Happy New Year from the Board of the Jasper Cultural & Historical Centre – over the next year we hope to make this at least a bi-monthly feature, informing readers of the current happenings at the Centre and other interesting titbits.
The wonderful donation by Richard Rooney of $250,000 last year has allowed us “some” breathing space in respect to immediate capital expenditures, however this is more than just a donation to the Centre, it is a gift to the entire community. I remind our readers that almost all grant monies secured, the fundraising dollars raised (in addition to Mr. Rooney’s) and programming proceeds we realize from the Centre, go back into this community in one form or another. Therefore, when a gentleman of Mr. Rooney’s stature recognizes the merits of the Centre, it not only validates the work we do at the Centre, but it also reflects on the entire community and the important role we play. A healthy community needs recreational, sporting AND cultural services and facilities. We cannot forget the importance of arts and heritage to Maple Creek – the Jasper Centre and the Old Timers’ Museum have struggled for decades to provide venues which attract thousands of visitors each year. Even with covid, the Jasper Centre saw an impressive attendance this past summer with over 2,000 people touring during the month of August alone. Most visitors do not just visit the Centre or the Old Timers’ but are encouraged to stroll down the street and explore the business district and other points of interest such as Grotto Gardens. We also refer countless visitors to the hotels/motels. The Jasper Centre is integral to Tourism and Business and is in itself, a gift to the town considering apart from two years, no direct municipal funds have gone towards its operations and upkeep. Over the many years countless volunteers have made this place happen so join us and “experience the spirit”!!
Although Mr. Rooney’s donation solved the immediate capital crisis, they are many other capital costs waiting to be prioritized, as well as the annual operating budgets of approximately $125,000. Over the past five years we have managed these operational costs thanks to your generous contributions and from other sources such as Provincial and Federal grants. Your continued support of the Centre is critical to maintaining quality exhibitions in the three galleries, continued change and improvement to the themed rooms and an ongoing selection of exceptional programmes/events throughout the year. As the largest year round Arts/Heritage Centre in the southwest, we look forward to another exciting year at the Centre as we continue to welcome visitors (year round) from across this country and beyond.