Brief History of the organization and its role in the community
In 1965, a parents group recognized that there was an urgent need for a facility that would serve as a rehearsal hall and social gathering place for children and members of the emerging arts community. These pioneers formed the Surrey Arts Council, raised funds and literally built the first community arts center on the site of what is now the Surrey Arts Centre in Bear Creek Park. Thirty years later, the renamed Arts Council of Surrey donated a Yamaha Grand Piano to the Surrey Arts Centre.
Over time the Arts Council has initiated, developed and/or sponsored groups that have become self-sustainable, some of which are:
-Surrey Festival of Dance (now in its 41st year) is one of North America's largest Dance Festivals with over 10,000 participants
-The Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society, who have been presenting their very successful pantomimes and operettas at the Surrey Arts Centre for 20 years
-The Surrey Youth Orchestra whose string quartets and jazz groups entertain as volunteers at many public events.
-Surrey International Writers?Conference is the 3rd largest such event held in North America attended by more than 600 participants of local and international writers.
-Surrey Rockhound Club holds workshops for thousands of school children each year.
As part of its innovative programming the Arts Council brought the arts to sports through art exhibitions and sales at the PGA Golf Tournament at Northview Golf and Country Club, and since 1994 to Fraser Downs Raceway.
Within the community the Arts Council has created outreach programs involving Business and the Arts at Central City Shopping Centre, Tourism Surrey, Surrey Board of Trade, the Sheraton Guildford Hotel, and other commercial venues. In smaller business venues, local and emerging artists are given the opportunity to display their works through the Arts for Display Program. The Arts Council of Surrey is proud of its ongoing relationship with the Surrey Arts Centre through programs such as the ARTS 2000 series and Youth Arts Council programs.