Blyth Arts & Cultural Initiative 14/19 Inc.
Almost 100 years ago a group of people in the Village of Blyth came together around an idea. They wanted to find a way to commemorate the Fallen of the First War. Many wanted to build a monument but a group from the Women’s Institute pushed for a Memorial Hall – a place where people could gather, commune, and create. A piece of land was purchased. Many said the building would never happen. And when it did many said it would never be paid for. It was… it took five years to raise the $25,000 dollars but they did it. With determination and belief. With heart they accomplished what they’d set out to do. We’ve taken the lead from those brave pioneers and have given ourselves five years to complete our project.
Almost 40 years ago the Hall had fallen into disrepair – there was talk of demolishing it. There was a suggestion that large support posts from the theatre through the ceiling could be used to hold up the roof. But another group of visionaries entered the conversation. They wondered if a Centre for the Arts could work inside Memorial Hall. Some said it was impossible. Some gave them six months before they’d go under. They didn’t. Over the last 40 years artists and audience have traveled from across the land and from down the street, to create and bear witness to some of our finest stories at the Blyth Festival.
On July 28th, 2013, another group of people came together and announced the 14/19 campaign in front of Memorial Hall. We have put our hearts and shoulders into the project and will see it through with the assistance of the community, with their and our belief that this is a good idea. We are following a creative impulse that we honour and at the projects completion we will pass the torch to the next generation…
“Almost 100 years ago, a group of people had an idea and that idea became Blyth Community Hall.Almost 40 years ago, a group of people had an idea, that idea became the Blyth Festival. 14/19 is another group for people with an idea – Create a cultural hub in Blyth that reaches county wide, country wide.Be a part of it.” Pete Smith, Project Director