Representatives from the Clayton Bellamy Foundation made a presentation to the Town of Bonnyville Council recently, where they asked for financial assistance from the Town.
The Foundation’s goal is to build a state-of-the-art theatre in Town and have raised roughly $180,000 toward that goal so far. This newly founded non-profit organization is committed to supporting education and community-based arts programs in the province of Alberta and is based in Bonnyville.
The theatre will be run like a business by a non-profit and will be open to all local community groups that may need it. The financial request from the Foundation to the Town was $100,000, which will be discussed by the council at a later meeting.
“I think there is a gap in our community for access to performing arts. So I think this would go a long way,” Mayor of the Town of Bonnyville Elisa Brosseau told Lakeland Connect on The Morning After segment.
Mayor Brosseau says the Clayton Bellamy Foundation made a great presentation to bring performing arts back to Bonnyville.
In May of 2020 the Lyle Victor Albert Centre, the longtime home of the Bonnyville District of Fine Arts Society, was demolished. The reason for the Lyle Vic’s demolition was to make way for a new gymnasium at Bonnyville Centralized High School.
“The Town of Bonnyville had partnered and had a memorandum of understanding with the school after the Lyle Victor Albert Centre was torn down to do some sort of theater for the performing arts for residents here in the Town of Bonnyville,” Mayor Brosseau said. “So this foundation has stepped up and they want to take the lead on creating and Performing Arts Theater. They’ve actually reached out to Grant MacEwan College to work on maybe getting some instructors in our area to help some of those students and also they are giving out a grant I believe, to students who want to pursue a career in performing arts.”
Mayor Brosseau says, “I think it’s a great idea for our community. For students, adults, anybody who has a desire to be in performing arts and for those of us who maybe don’t want to play sports, but want to get out and watch a play, or watch a band.”
Recently the Cold Lake Arts & Entertainment Society folded and donated some of their physical assets including staging equipment and furnishings to the Clayton Bellamy Foundation for the Arts.
“We feel this organization will be the perfect place to pass the torch of the mission we have worked toward over the years,” The Cold Lake Arts & Entertainment Society stated. ” We hope our community will embrace their initiatives.”
The pride of Alberta’s Lakeland
Clayton Bellamy was born in Bonnyville, and while growing up in the Lakeland, music was a constant fixture in his home which would bring him on stage at a very young age.
“I started out performing at the Lyle Victor Albert Centre, I think I was probably nine years old performing homemade jams,” Bellamy told Lakeland Connect.
Bellamy’s career skyrocketed after landing a role in ’04 on CMT’s new program, “The Road Hammers.” The plot was simple – team a group of musicians up with Jason McCoy as Canada’s newest supergroup. The Roadhammers, both the band and the show, became instant hits, and the band’s self-titled debut album earned them a Juno in ’06 for Country Album of the Year, and spawned five smash singles, including “I’m A Road Hammer, and covers of “East Bound & Down” and “Girl On The Billboard.”
However, Bellamy plans on giving back to Bonnyville. He will never forget the hometown support he received when starting out on his music career journey.
“When I was 17, the Bonnyville Grand Old Opry got together and they put together a bursary for $2,500 for me to go to college and study music,” Bellamy said. “I was starting my career, and you know, as a kid, just kind of starting out on his own, that was a huge thing for me. And I never forgot that you know, that act of kindness, and I don’t think that they ever gave out another bursary or anything else. They just kind of all got together and did this thing. And it really resonated with me and stuck with me over the years. And I always wanted to give that back.”
An act of kindness which Bellamy is now paying forward with a $2500 bursary.
“So that part of the foundation’s part of returning that paying forward and that legacy is that we now have a bursary of $2,500, that kids can apply for to study the arts,” Bellamy said. “And that’s up on the website now. And, you know, that’s one of the foundation’s mandates and the other is, you know, wanting to continue to have a place and a space for people to experience the arts and to practice the arts in Bonnyville because I really feel like it is one of the foundations of a healthy community. An inclusive place where we can come together where everyone can share their creativity and enjoy it as well. So, you know, we’re partnering with the Northern Lights Public Schools (NLPS) division to make that dream a reality and make sure that we have an arts theater for generations to come.”
Bellamy would also like to personally thank The Cold Lake Arts & Entertainment Society for their kind donation.
“Thank you to Craig and all of the amazing people at The Cold Lake Arts & Entertainment Society who came to us and wanted us to kind of carry the flag of the arts in the Lakeland,” Bellamy told Lakeland Connect. “And they generously donated all of this amazing equipment and backdrops and costuming and lighting for us to use in our new theater. So it’s been amazing, the community is coming together, the Town of Bonnyville, the MD, and the surrounding areas we’ve been working. The foundation has also been working with St. Paul and Bonnyville Native Friendship Centres on after-school outreach programs that we also want to bring to the theater once we are up and running. So a lot of things that we’ve been working on and creating to, you know, just try and, you know, bring arts back in a big way.”