Fairview: Established, Unique, Evolving.
Fairview is a neighborhood in transition. Established in the 1950’s, the community of Fairview is experiencing something of a renaissance. Once aged and deteriorated, in recent years the community has witnessed a regeneration of the arena, the renovation of the community hall, and a revival of their community association (fairviewcommunity. ca, 2018).
Young families have moved in, and neighbors who left years ago have moved back. The schools are full, and the parks busy with little league baseball and soccer.
Local schools support a strong connection to the arts; collectively, Le Roi Daniels Elementary and Fairview Junior High Schools offer visual arts, dance, drama, and music programming to 1,300 students, ranging in age from 5-15. (Calgary Board of Education, 2018).
Baby boomers and founding community members make up a vibrant pre-seniors and seniors network. Mature residents are more highly involved in recreation and leisure pursuits compared to previous generations. In particular, seniors are seeking out both physical and mental activity to ensure that they maintain a quality of life that is sustainable for longer than has been observed in previous generations (Recreation Amenities Gap Analysis – Area 5 Summary Report, 2010).
There is momentum to “continue the regeneration of parks and playgrounds, to build and expand our events and programs, develop strong ties to business and community groups and serve our greater community” (fairviewcommunity.ca, 2018). Residents have spoken to a desire for more public art, additional trees, community gardens, variety in park infrastructure, seniors amenities and investment in the central park (Community Objectives Workshop, 2017).
Fairview aspires to be a complete community with a focus on quality of life, improved public spaces, and community-led events. Arts facilities, presentations and creation experiences are envisioned as core future development, a defining feature of the area, and a regular part of life in Fairview (Reclaiming Calgary’s Cultural Identify: Arts Spaces Strategy and Capital Plan, Calgary Arts Development, 2007).
Fairview is diverse, resilient and growing. Aging community infrastructure requires lifecycle upgrades and/or additional amenities in order to address projected long-term population expansion. Its public spaces and community buildings must be re-imagined to serve residents both now and well into the future (Recreation Amenities Gap Analysis – Area 5 Summary Report, 2010).
Out with the old.
Aspirations for the Fairview Community Hall site have always been rooted in community. The modest concrete block building, attached to the Fairview Arena, is where the ‘88 Olympics were commemorated, milestones celebrated and where people of all ‘ages stages and wages’ have historically come together.
In 2007, the IAC took on the responsibility of investing in maintaining the hall, continuing the legacy set by the Fairview Community Association. Small-scale renovations ensured the building met baseline building code standards for accessibility. From offering an array of after school programming, to hosting art shows and exhibitions, to creating a bright and recognizable beacon on the corner of Fairmount and Fredson, Indefinite Arts Centre has brought art to the community, and the community to the art.
But the limitations of the existing building constrained much of this activity to the interior. The parking lot isolates the building from the street. The entry divides those who can use stairs, and those who cannot. Natural light is in short supply. The gallery is hidden away. The building does not serve the artists and the community in a meaningful way. The existing building has been adjusted to make do. The community deserves better.