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February 12, 2010

It was well worth the wait—Aurora now has a premiere multi-purpose cultural hub it can be proud of. At the tail-end of January the Aurora Cultural Centre opened with an inaugural exhibition and open house. There was a lion’s share of things to see and do: umbrella painting, a grand piano performance, a historical show about the Prohibition and, of course the highlight, Ann Mortimer’s fine crafted ceramic umbrellas. All of this activity was contained in the re-conditioned  architecture of a historic school built in 1885. Wandering through the building was a real treat—evocative of the by-gone days of lessons and learning. The new architects strategically chose elements which need updating and those that elicited a nostalgic energy.  The choice to keep the original blackboard gave chills down my spine. Behind plexi-glass were chalk markings and indicia from past pedagogues.  

Historic Blackboard


Laura Schembri the incoming Executive Director of the Centre has demonstrated her commitment to the arts for many years now. Aurora, Get Ready for Laura! Ms Schembri brings verve and positive energy to people around her. We here in Durham know it first-hand. Laura served on Station Gallery’s Board of Directors, worked as an arts administrator in Oshawa and, along with her husband David, initiated a very successful arts and culture periodical in Durham Region called Surfacing Magazine. Although we really miss Dave and Laura, I can’t wait to see the bridges that will form between our two communities.