Author: Susanna Gordon, Volunteer, Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites
Photos Provided by Kingston Area Museums
I remember seeing the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning for the first time. I had recently moved to Kingston and was eager to learn about the city’s history and culture and to become involved in the local arts community. I was struck by its design – a compelling balance between contemporary architecture and the features from the original 19th Century heritage building.
At the front entrance, visitors can literally turn the pages of a Kingston Remembers interpretive plaque and learn the site’s history, starting from when Thomas Dalton purchased the property in 1819 and built a brewery to James Morton’s “Mammoth Brewery” which an article in The British Whig on March 1, 1844, claimed to be “the best finished establishment of the kind in British America and the United States.”
The building has served other purposes, including as the Sydenham Military Hospital and the Eastern Ontario Area Headquarters of the Army. In 1971, the City of Kingston purchased the property under the recommendation of the Director of Recreation, John K. Tett, who envisioned the old brewery and distillery as a future arts and cultural hub in Kingston. In 2015, The Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning officially opened its doors.
The heart and soul of The Tett are the creative people in our community. They are the little girls in pink tutus who skip down the hallway from the Kingston School of Dance to peek into the Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre. They are the potters, weavers, and metalsmiths who share ideas while working on their own projects. They are the artists who paint and teach in the Creativity Studios and the aspiring musicians who sign out instruments from Joe’s M.I.L.L. before heading to the waterfront café.
While the City of Kingston owns the building, it is the small group of dedicated staff and volunteer board members of the charitable Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning who operate the building to foster an inclusive, creative community, and rents the affordable spaces to artists and arts organizations.
Art educators are encouraged to rent the Activity Room for their art-making classes. The Tett Gallery can be rented for a weekend, a week, a month. And unlike commercial galleries, the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning does not take a commission from the sale of artwork.
The Rehearsal Hall is ideal for theatrical performances and meetings, and the Malting Tower, where Morton’s kiln toasted the grain, is now a light-filled space for special events where guests can enjoy spectacular views of Lake Ontario.
The Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning offers its own high-quality, accessible art programming for children, families and adults.
On Saturday mornings, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., children and their families can drop into the Kids Creativity Club and make artwork with local artists and volunteers.
PA Days at The Tett are popular with students in Grades 1 through 6. Students have the opportunity to work alongside local artists and explore two unique creative disciplines each day. All materials are included.
November 16, 2018
December 7, 2018
February 1, 2018
Personally, I look forward to Tett Tuesdays when once a month, artists, 18 years and older, of all levels bring their own projects and art materials, and enjoy a relaxed evening sharing knowledge, techniques and ideas. I hope to see you there!
Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning
370 King Street West, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 2X4
Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries & Historic Sites