In Bells Corners, just off Robertson Road, in the west-end of Ottawa sits a brown brick industrial looking building with many, many doors. Behind each one is a wildly diverse and colourful world humming with activity. In one studio, young children are engrossed in a dance lesson. In another, an artist dabs paint onto a bare canvas. In the black box performance space an Ottawa production company rehearses for an upcoming performance. Hammers and saws can be heard in the background as sets are being constructed and music seems to flow from every nook and cranny as musicians practice their craft. This is the Nepean Creative Arts Centre. A facility owned and operated by the City of Ottawa. A facility cherished by the community for 25 years.
“NCAC is unique in that it has various interesting settings for individuals to explore their art,” says Lisa Zanyk, Arts Centre Programmer with the City of Ottawa. “There is a welcoming environment at this centre for people to make connections. It is a place to come and not be intimidated to try stuff out, a place to fall in love with art.”
The NCAC offers specialized arts classes and programs taught by accomplished artists in custom studio spaces for participants of all levels and ability. From preschoolers to adults, students experience a diversity of arts instruction in creative and dynamic arts spaces including dance studios, a black box theatre, and music studios.
The centre officially opened on May 25, 1990, and ever since the Nepean Creative Arts Centre has continued to be discovered by passionate individuals who experience the joy of art within its walls. It is a home away from home for many artists; a place to bring your family and enrich lives. And today, the NCAC attracts hundreds of students each year and is a creative space where artists and arts groups thrive.
This arts centre hub has played a role in the development of artists and performers such as: actress Sandra Oh, Ottawa fashion designer Stacey Martin Bafi-Yeboa, quadruple- threat performing artist Stephanie Cadman and more.
“We will continue to grow as a specialized arts centre and provide an unforgettable experience to our clients. This has always been and will continue to be a place people can grow and create their own version of the arts,” says Zanyk.
In addition to instructional arts courses, the NCAC is home base for a number of community and professional arts groups, who rent space to rehearse, perform, build, and develop their own work. The centre houses two pre-professional schools, Les Petits Ballets and Bells Corners Academy of Music, which deliver programs in recreational and pre-professional ballet and ensemble and private music lessons.
“The NCAC was my home away from home. As a ballet student I trained at the Les Petits Ballets studios many days a week for almost 10 years. Now, in my professional dancing career, returning to the pre-professional school as the choreographer, I appreciate and enjoy the large, beautifully lit, spacious facilities to produce my ballets,” says Joanna Hughes, choreographer at Les Petits Ballets.
The NCAC has a full year’s worth of celebrating planned. There will be a series of workshops available in all disciplines where family, youth, children and adults can try something new. There is a concert series by the Bells Corners Academy of Music featuring upwards of four special jazz and piano performances and a number of social events to help celebrate what the centre does daily, just to name a few.
“We invite people to take advantage of what we have to offer and to be able to find the artist within,” says Zanyk.