Le Vitrail cultural space in Thetford Mines was featured in the context of Excellence Awards from the Council for Religious Heritage of Quebec (CPRQ) held on October 29 in Montreal. The converted church into a place of culture has already won awards for Religious Building Reuse and Public Favorites categories.
Among other things, the commission noted “respect for the existing building, whose volume is distinguished by the presence of exceptional stained-glass windows”. He further noted that this “demonstrates the compatibility of the function with the modern architecture of the church and the interest in highlighting the past in a cultural invitation.” The jury also wanted to highlight community mobilization, particularly through the Citizens Committee and Maison Gamache & Nadeau, in order to create a space for cultural dissemination for the community of Thetford Mines.
“They liked that we revalued what was already there in accordance with the new functions of the place. The arrangements we made respect the initial structure and the essential elements have been preserved. In addition, by reusing the Le Vitrail name, you have enhanced the value of the building even more,” explained Curator and Head Board of Directors, Stephanie Gamachy.
The latter stated that from the beginning, the goal was for people to fit in and feel that they were always in the same place. “First of all, it is a very beautiful place. We wanted to improve the amenities to adapt the space to its new functions, while being careful to respect what was already there. We reused confession doors and other materials.”
a blow to the heart
In addition, Stephanie Gamaci said that she was surprised and happy to receive the Public’s Coup de cœur award. “I reacted a lot when we received it because I wasn’t expecting it at all. The other nominations were also impressive. It shows how proud people are of this place and what it has become. For us, receiving this support from the community has been really touching.”
These two awards mean a lot to the organization. “This is a thank you to a project dear to all members of the Board of Directors. We strongly believe in this venue as a unifying space for the community. Receiving such support from the public and CPRQ gives a strong impetus to continue our mission,” the president said.
Sad little comeback
Like most venues, Le Vitrail has been able to resume showings for a few months. “People are happy to come back and every time they come out with a smile. We can see that they have a sense of belonging to this building and they love to find their way around,” noted Stephanie Gamachy.
Recovery, however, is not what we hope for. “It must be said that the recovery is of some caution. The spectators are still present. The further it goes, the easier the measurements will be, so I imagine it will improve.”
Note that the organization has decided to continue to respect distances even if it is at its maximum capacity under the current measures. This allows viewers to remove the mask when seated. “A lot of people are hesitant to spend an hour and a half thinking that they will have to wear a mask. It certainly doesn’t help. The vaccination passport provides a certain level of safety for those who come in, but there are also others who can’t be around.”
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