West Coast Reduction’s gift to Cultch benefits entire arts community

Vancouver's family owned The Cultch received a monumental gift from their longest standing corporate partner, West Coast Reduction Ltd.

WCR Ltd.’s Barry Glotman, Gordon Diamond with Heather Redfern and staff.
West Coast Reduction Ltd.’s Barry Glotman, Gordon Diamond, and staff from the Grandview-Woodland community celebrate with Cultch Executive Director Heather Redfern. Photo by Wendy D Photography.

The exquisite York Theatre on Commercial Drive, now restored to its former glory, is The Cultch’s newest venue promising a new era in quality live entertainment. Heather Redfern, executive director for the foundation, is overjoyed with the news. Fifty years after its foundation, East Vancouver’s family-owned cultural organization, The Cultch, received quite the birthday present: two million dollars, a gift from its longest-standing corporate partner, West Coast Reduction Ltd. This is the single largest donation in The Cultch’s history – and the timing could not be better. The Vancouver Observer spoke to Heather yesterday, and she told us she's excited about the future.

"I think it's a fantastic opportunity because it provides the stability that the Cultch has not had for the past forty years. There are myriad groups in the city that are involved with the Cultch, so the impact of this gift is far reaching," Redfern said.

Myriad indeed. The Van East Cultural Center is by no means alone in its mission to revitalize the scene. If the quality programming on their slate is any indication, there are great things ahead for everyone involved. Famed Canadian musician Tanya Tagaq appears as part of the PuSh Festival at the end of January, country star Crystal Shawanda appears March 1 as part of The Talking Stick Festival, and Patrick Street Productions brings in the beloved songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein from February 5-16.

Margaret Atwood and Tobin Stokes’ new opera Pauline, based on the harrowing true story of Pauline Johnson will have its world premiere at the York on Friday May 23, 2014. This fully Canadian-made opera is generously supported by over twenty corporate sponsors, and will be a major event in Canadian cultural history. If entertainment of this caliber is a regular visitor to theatres like the York, what else could be done with more donations like this? 

Heather Redfern reflected on the impact this donation has had, not only for her own organization but for others as well:

“Receiving a gift of this magnitude is extraordinary for the performing arts community in Vancouver, as it ensures a sustainable future of engaging programming for generations to come…It's a visionary gift on the part of West Coast Reduction, and I hope other corporations will look at this example and consider partnering with an Arts organization. West Coast Reduction has set a wonderful example."

Barry Glotman, Heather Redfern, and Gordon Diamond.

Here’s hoping more of the corporate community takes note. Investing in the arts is a collective affair. Especially within the arts, the ripple effect of such donations is felt immediately. As CEO of West Coast Reductions Barry Glotman said, “The arts are an important part of what makes a healthy neighbourhood, and we are delighted to support The Cultch’s dream of realizing a theatre space in our own backyard. We strongly believe in sustainability at the community level.”

For fifty years, The Cultch has been instrumental in keeping the arts and culture scene vibrant and fresh in Vancouver by bringing world-class entertainment to a community with as rich a history as anywhere else in Canada. As part of that same community, every organization that involves itself in the labour of love that is the arts is contributing to a future that looks even brighter than before, thanks to the help of some very generous neighbours. The level of entertainment fostered by The Cultch is world class, and worth investing in. Yes, times have been tough. But a new growth is coming.

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