Leigh Square encourages and facilitates community development through arts, culture and heritage within Port Coquitlam and serves as a cultural meeting place, a 21st century community arts centre.
Incorporated in the early 20th century, Port Coquitlam is a relatively young city built on an urban edge experiencing continued growth but maintaining its ‘small town charm’.
Port Coquitlam’s cultural plan and policy completed in 2001 by PERC Legacy Heritage Consultants resulted in the City adopting its first cultural plan and policy to recognize culture as an important factor in the development of the community and adopting the community cultural development model to enhance opportunities for local business and urban revitalization.
One of the directives resulted in the development, completion and operation of the Leigh Square Community Arts Village in 2007, the first dedicated cultural space in the City to support and celebrate arts, culture and heritage, although there was always a presence of arts programming at the community centres.
Mission & Mandate
The Leigh Square Community Arts Village encourages and facilitates community development through arts, culture and heritage within Port Coquitlam and serves as a cultural meeting place, a 21st century community arts centre. It serves as a hub to build understanding, connections and opportunities amongst individuals and organizations.
Leigh Square has exhibition, studio and program spaces for performing, visual and literary arts and festivals (e.g. May Day, Farmers Market, Summer in the City, Christmas in Leigh Square), as well as archival/historic display area and commercial space. It is operated by the Parks & Recreation Department in the City of Port Coquitlam in cooperation with partners such as the Friends of Leigh Square Society and Port Coquitlam Heritage & Cultural Society under an agreement.
A community cultural development practice supports professional artists working with community members to create work that addresses specific local issues or concerns and uses art/culture as a vehicle for social change and active participation by artists and the community.
It’s an approach that employ’s the principles of community development: facilitating rather than providing, supporting rather than directing, and creating an enabling environment that permits community members and artists to work in partnerships to achieve community cultural goals.