DTAH was privileged to attend the recent sunrise naming ceremony by Mi’kmaw Elders for the Eltuek Arts Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Previously the home of the Holy Angels Convent, the 133 year-old building has a long history of fine arts education in the community, and offered classes in music, visual arts, theatre and dance. When the high school closed in 2011, New Dawn Enterprises, the oldest Community Development Corporation in Canada, purchased the Holy Angels Convent with the desire to preserve the building and revitalize it into a centre that could host the Island’s growing innovation and deep-rooted tradition of arts and culture.

Previously referred to as The Convent, or Ta’n etl-mawita’mk, the centre was renamed to Eltuek Arts Centre on October 29. Eltuek (el-do-ehg) is a Mi’kmaw word that means “We are making (it) together,” chosen in the spirit of reconciliation and to honour the unceded Mi’kmaw territory on which the centre resides.

All wayfinding in the building appears in both Mi’kmaw as well as English and each floor is colour-coded using symbolic Indigenous colours: red (symbolizing earth), green (symbolizing vegetation), blue (symbolizing sky), and yellow (symbolizing sun).

The 40,000 sq.ft. centre includes a public gallery, café, and offers a new home for a number of local organizations, including Celtic Colours, Nova Stream, The Coast, and New Dawn, as well as a new program for the Nova Scotia Community College and many individual artists.

DTAH, in collaboration with Trifos Design Consultants, led the architecture and landscape architecture for the centre.