Well, that does it - its 2012....the stunning building we call home is 100 years old.
These last few weeks have confirmed my suspicions: everyone loves Third Ave.
I have talked to many of my musical colleagues and everyone is excited to help us solidify a creative inspired cultural space in a building that so warmly welcomes both audience and musician alike. I've started work on putting together a season of artists of national and internaional calibre - and the response from musicians around the globe is often "I can't wait to hear the acoustics".
Cut to people outside the music world....stained glass window people....architects......heritage afficionados; they all love it. Emails have poured in from across Canada, and with each email comes the same message: how can we help?
What made this so gratifying was to discover that my passion for this tremendous landmark is shared by all walks of life. One man even commented that there may be no greater architectural landmark in Saskatoon than Third Ave. Another talked of how every resident in the city knows exactly what building sits on the corner of 3rd and 24th. One quipped that the city wouldn't make sense without the bell towers looking over downtown. And mostly, people gushed about the windows.
Those windows, have you looked at them? No, I mean REALLY looked at them. Don't say you have, because you probably haven't. I hadn't. I mean I thought I had, but really I hadn't. After learning that the giant windows that adorn the balcony walls were installed in 1912, with state of the art installation techniques, and were hand painted by the aritst, I decided I needed to take a closer look.
I realized that for years I had been in the presence of great art, and had simply taken it for granted. Stepping up to the balcony during the day and seeing the minute details that must have taken weeks to exact, one is overcome with a sense of awe.
Remember, each pane of glass is hand painted. The folds of each piece of clothing; the veins in an old man's hands; the curl of a hair against a face; the tableclothes that show wear. Its like I'd been standing in the Louvre and failed to notice they had art....wandered through the Sistine Chapel and didn't bother to look up. How have we missed this?
Those windows created a firestorm of emails last week - the Institute of Stained Glass, numerous heritage organizations, and even magazines. Everyone wants to marvel at these irreplaceable works of art.
This spring, Worth Magazine (an architecture journal) will run a full colour feature on the windows - in fact, this Wednesday, those 100 year old beauties are having a photo shoot!
All this wealth of good will, passion, memories, and love has confirmed in my mind the mission even more. Third Ave Centre is not just about creating culture, art, and community - its about helping the citizens of Saskatoon and the province, heck even the nation, realize that art is where you find it. And you'll find it right here at 304 Third.
Keep your eyes pealed...you'll be seeing a lof of these windows this year!