Station Arts Centre’s president, Cameron Nicolle, summed up the centre beautifully at its 2015 annual general meeting: “It is a place for our community to gather and meet their neighbours. A place for art classes and yoga, community meetings and discussions. But it is also a place where we can be transported away, by music or theatre, into worlds far beyond our own community.”
The cultural hub was established in 1990, in response to a dream to save Rosthern’s CN railway station, built in 1902. Pieces of its history are still visible today: a stroll to the back platform reveals the station’s caboose and a view of the long stretch of active railroad tracks. The centre also boasts a 160-seat theatre, an art gallery and a tea room.
More than 20,000 people from across the province frequent Station Arts Centre each year, for art shows, summer theatre productions, concerts and other programming. “We focus on welcoming and engaging youth and young families, because we recognize the need for the next generation of arts enthusiasts,” says Nicole Thiessen, co-executive director.
New initiatives include a concert series for families, a youth theatre series, and a wide variety of workshops and classes that offer hands-on art experiences. The organization also partners with local schools, providing programming off-site and inviting classrooms to the centre. “We see the importance of making kids feel they can take ownership of the station. If they feel comfortable here, they bring in their parents,” Thiessen says.
Many people in Rosthern and surrounding communities consider Station Arts Centre to be a perfect “date night.” Says Thiessen, “We offer big city entertainment in the comfort of a rural setting. The shows we bring here are often performed in larger centers for a lot more money. And because it’s an intimate setting, you can always meet the performers afterward.”
Station Arts Centre receives Annual funding from the Professional Arts Organizations Program. The program is funded by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and, under the terms of a partnership with SaskCulture Inc., the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation.