Businessman Nick Patulli has great hopes for the Crowley Arts Centre, in spite of some setbacks
When you walk into the Crowley Arts Centre, you can’t tell that owner and director of operations Nick Patulli had it torn down and rebuilt only three years ago. "I knew that eventually the big parcel of land, 300 feet from here, would be developed. I knew that I would consequently have to develop my property. Which I did three-and-a-half years ago, when I found out the McGill University Health Centre would be built," says Patulli. "I figured it was time to start from scratch."
The Crowley Arts Centre is full of surprises, with its three floors and basement where music lessons are given, conferences are organized and exhibitions are held. But it’s the main hall that impresses the most. "This place was built acoustically for great sound, for concert music. The sound that we get here is better than 90 percent of the halls in town," says Patulli.
Hosting a variety of events, from fundraisings to weddings, music shows, conferences and trade shows, the Crowley must seem like paradise to outsiders. But one (big) cloud has been hanging over the arts centre.
As construction work has increased and the pillars of the McGill University Health Centre have sprouted up on every square foot of Glen Campus, the Crowley Arts Centre is experiencing the downside of the project. "The first six months, business was going well, but then they started the construction and all hell broke loose." Stuck between the Décarie Expressway and upper Lachine, Crowley Avenue has had its share of roads closing, trucks coming in and out and visitors being kept away from the neighbourhood. "We began having two or three events a week, [but] it dropped to two or three a month! We were cancelling 60 to 65 percent of all our events."
On the bright side, at the end of October, the musical play Johnny Canuck will open, while Stewart Cubley and Matt Belay’s three-day workshop The Painting Experience will help you unleash your inner artist. And every other Sunday, the Film Society’s classic film series brightens the autumn days.
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Crowley Arts Centre
5325 Crowley Avenue