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Richmond media lab made possible with provincial grant of $360K

MLA Richmond South Centre Henry Yao help arranged the provincial grant.

The media lab inside Richmond’s newest art complex was able to come together with the help of a provincial grant of $360,000.

MLA Richmond South Centre Henry Yao arranged for a one-time grant from the provincial Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation last year to give youth access to technology and equipment in the arts realm at the recently opened Richmond Cultural Annex Centre.

“The goal is to help students identify their career passions and overall skill sets needed to improve their artistic abilities for the future,” said Yao.

He and Minister of State for Child Care Mitzi Dean recently toured the media lab and the cultural annex centre that opened in February.

The funding allowed the lab to get a sound and music recording studio, a 3-D printer, computers loaded with software for creative projects, several Cricut (sticker-making) machines and even iPads for youth to borrow.

There are 40 iPads for children and youth classes, 10 of which youth can take home to keep working on projects.

Yao said it is important for students to have access to equipment such as computers and iPads that are keeping up with modern technology such as photo or audio editing.

“To know that there are iPads at the media lab that are kept out for students who might be struggling with school equipment (access) and making a difference in their learning is great,” he said.

The computers in the media lab have been loaded with creative software programs such as Photoshop, Premier Pro, After Effects and InDesign.

Most people are curious about the 3-D printer, especially adults who are unfamiliar with the machine.

Staff at the lab said the printer could make almost anything from planters to toys to tools for everyday use.

There are even free adult beginner classes every Thursday on how to use it.

In the media lab, there is also a full, yet small, recording studio that has everything from microphones to headphones to audio editing software for those who are more musically inclined and looking to produce their own music.

The Richmond Cultural Annex Centre was previously a seniors centre. It was used as an Emergency Response Centre for unhoused people in Richmond during the COVID-19 pandemic before it was turned into the cultural annex.

The total cost of the cultural annex is about $3 million with the province contributing $2.1 million and the federal government giving $133,000. The rest came from city coffers.

-with files from Maria Rantanen

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