Plans and oversees a wide range of arts services and programs within the City. This includes the operation of Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey Civic Theatres, and Surrey International Children’s Festival as well as administration of the Public Art Program and Cultural Grants Program.
Arts Services staff provide stewardship for the City’s contemporary and public art collections and support the city-wide identification and implementation of arts programs and facilities. Staff work with community organizations and other sectors to build awareness and appreciation for the benefits of the arts, provide arts education to students, and develop new audiences through the presentation of exhibits, public programs, and theatre events.
The Surrey Art Gallery is a contemporary art museum specializing in exhibitions and education. Since 1975, more than 10,000 local, national, and international artists have shown their work here. The Gallery maintains a commitment to digital art, as seen with its TechLab and Open Sound programming, as well as with its offsite programming venue UrbanScreen, dedicated to presenting digital and interactive art after dark.
Surrey Civic Theatres is the Main Stage and Studio Theatre at Surrey Arts Centre, and Centre Stage at Surrey City Hall. The 402-seat Main Stage is equipped to host the biggest shows. The versatile Studio Theatre can welcome 129 people with theatre-style seating or up to 160 in banquet format. City Hall's Council Chambers transforms into the 200-seat Centre Stage. All three theatres—complete with their behind-the-scenes support staff and crews—can be rented for events of all kinds including theatre productions, corporate meetings, concerts, galas, receptions and celebrations.
The Surrey International Children’s Festival began as a millennium project in 2000. It was so popular Mayor and Council decided to bring it back as an annual event in 2005. It takes place in May at the Surrey Arts Centre and in Bear Creek Park. Featuring international and national theatre performances as well as hands-on art activities, the Festival is an artistic imagination playground for children aged 0-12 years.
The Public Art program began in 1998 when the Public Art Policy was adopted by City Council. It is intended that projects initiated through this program explore and express the spirit, values, and ideals of the people of Surrey, and occur at public sites throughout the City. Surrey’s Public Art Program seeks to bring thoughtful and playful art into the City, from mosaics and paintings to contemporary illuminated sculptures.
On May 28, 2012, Council adopted a Cultural Plan for Surrey, which recommended establishing a Cultural Grants Program. The vision of the program is to support and enhance arts and heritage in Surrey through building organizational capability and sustainability in existing and new local cultural organizations; investing in community-based cultural activities that promote awareness, access, participation, and appreciation of arts and heritage; and encouraging collaborative opportunities and partnerships.