Grand Theatre Foundation to dissolve at end of year

Kingstonist file photo

The Grand Theatre Foundation, a registered charity that was founded to support the most recent renovations of the Kingston Grand Theatre, will be dissolving as of December 31, 2020.

On Aug. 13 the Grand Theatre Foundation’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to dissolve the Foundation after determining its mission would be better served under a different structure, according to a release from the City of Kingston dated Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. After renovations were completed, The Grand Theatre Foundation shifted its mandate to fund Grand OnStage programming and related educational activities. 

For more than 15 years, the Foundation worked to build a legacy for the performing arts for the Kingston community and, as of Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, the City of Kingston will assume leadership and responsibility for fundraising and sponsorship for the Kingston Grand Theatre and related programming, according to the release. Under the leadership of Walter Fenlon, the Grand Theatre Foundation accomplished its original mandate to help renovate the Kingston Grand Theatre and later revised its mission to support both artistic and educational programming. 

“Kingston has a passionate and effective community of arts supporters and we achieved much success through the Grand Theatre Foundation. It is now time to step back and we are confident that community support for the programming the City organizes will continue under its leadership,” says Walter Fenlon, Past Chair of the Grand Theatre Foundation. “The revenue development initiatives the Foundation helped build will be able to focus on the greatest need – supporting artists and increasing access – so that programming will continue to excel through the efforts of City staff supported by local donors and sponsors who also value the impact of the performing arts on our lives.” 

Almost 20 years ago, a committed group of passionate Kingston arts supporters helped undertake the task of restoring the Grand Theatre to its position as Kingston’s preeminent performing arts venue, the City said in the release. Originally incorporated in 2004 the Grand Theatre Restoration Foundation, Co-Chaired by Walter Fenlon & Fred Laflamme, went to work to raise millions of dollars in partnership with the City of Kingston to breathe new life into the Grand Theatre. The result was a beautifully renovated performing arts venue that, in normal circumstances, attracts tens of thousands patrons a year and provides Kingston audiences with opportunities to engage with some of the best artists and performers from around the corner and around the world. 

“The Kingston Grand Theatre would not be the success story it is without the tireless work of the Grand Theatre Foundation. The generosity, time and effort they brought to their work shows a deep love for the performing arts and a desire to share it with Kingston audiences,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson. 

City welcomes donations to support 2021 Grand OnStage programming 

Moving forward, the City of Kingston will assume responsibility for fundraising and sponsorship related to the Kingston Grand Theatre as of Nov. 20, 2020. Due to COVID-19, current programming looks quite different following the recent launch of a virtual Grand OnStage program and the limited re-opening of the Baby Grand.  The City says, opportunities still exist to support the virtual Grand OnStage program through donations and sponsorships to help keep the performing arts in Kingston vibrant and to ensure the future continuation of the Grand Onstage school performances and the Municipal Fee Assistance Program ticket fund. 

One time and monthly contributions can be made online at Donations can also be made by phone through the Grand Theatre Box Office at 613-530-2050. Income tax receipts will be issued for all donations over $20. 

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