The new gymnasium, classrooms and hallways in the Calgary Arts Academy were abuzz Monday with the excitement of students, parents, teachers and guests celebrating the official opening of the new education centre on Stampede Park.

A concept that formed over the past 12 years was made possible through a unique partnership between Calgary Arts Academy, Government of Alberta, the Calgary Stampede and Calgary Stampede Foundation. The partnership fuses together both education and the arts, and celebrates youth achievement, while shaping the future leaders of tomorrow.

“This partnership and collaboration sets a significant standard for advancing the education of our youth into tomorrow’s spirited citizens while preserving an important part of our history,” said Warren Connell, CEO of the Calgary Stampede. “The opening of the Calgary Arts Academy adds to our vision of creating a world-class, vibrant Youth Campus which celebrates western heritage, culture, public education and the arts.”

Officials cut the ribbon to officially open Calgary Arts Academy

The partners collaborated to transform the historic Weston Bakery building on 14th Avenue S.E. into a unique, modern learning space which provides synergies in education and the arts that benefits Calgary Arts Academy, the broader education and arts community plus the Calgary Stampede Foundation’s youth programs like the Calgary Stampede Showband and The Young Canadians.

“The Alberta Government’s modernization of the Weston Bakery building combines historic bricks and mortar with modern glass and steel to create a magnificent, purpose-built arts immersion education centre,” said Dale Erickson, superintendent of the Calgary Arts Academy.

“Students are the single reason we do this,” said Todd Hirsch, Calgary Arts Academy Chair. “We are developing engaged citizens and creative thinkers that will meaningfully contribute to our society.”

“Involving arts in education enriches our community and improves the quality of life for our young people,” said Hon. David Eggen, Minister of Education. “We support working together in cooperative and imaginative ways and look forward to sharing Calgary Arts Academy’s best practices for involving arts in education across Alberta.”

About the Golden Weston Bakery building

Photo courtesy of the Calgary Public Library

The Golden Weston Bakery building is the second physical bakery and third bakery business to be located at the corner of 14th Ave. S.E. and 6th St. S.E. The first bakery was established in the early 1920s. The site was originally just situated just north of a Canadian Pacific Railway line, so goods could be moved through Victoria Park. John T. Mitchell sold the property to Thomas Cameron in 1929, after a fire destroyed the building. Thomas Cameron then rebuilt the bakery choosing an Edwardian-style and opened the Golden West Bakery.

In 1989 the Calgary Stampede purchased the property as part of their plans to build a year-round gathering place for community and to support the Stampede’s vision of fostering youth achievement.

About the Calgary Arts Academy

The Calgary Arts Academy is a Public Charter School that teaches the Alberta curriculum through Arts Immersion. Founded in 2003 by a group of parents and community members, their focus is on the student as their first and only customer. They leave tradition behind and embrace new education methods and learning style theories.