The Yorkton Arts Council (originally known as the Yorkton Art Centre) came into existence in October of 1965 following the Festival of the Arts, an annual event. The Festival's purpose was to raise community interest in the arts. A consultant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board took the opportunity to advise and encourage interested citizens to establish a place where programs of music, drama, art, lectures and craft demonstrations could be developed.
Following a public meeting a steering committee was formed, and eventually the first Board of Directors was elected. The official opening was held at the Art Centre's first home (photo at right) on February 1, 1966. Increased interest in the Art Centre made it necessary for the organization to change its location twice during the next 15 years, each time to slightly improved facilities, until November 1981 when we moved into the Godfrey Dean Cultural Centre.
From our early beginnings when we offered programs in the visual and performing arts, our programs have continued to grow and expand.
1976 saw the first Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Council (OSAC) Stars for Saskatchewan performance.
Through collaborative fundraising, in 1985 the Yorkton Music Festival Association and the Yorkton Arts Council purchased two Yamaha grand pianos, one currently housed in the Yorkton Regional High School's Anne Portnuff Theatre and the other at St. Andrew's United Church.
From 1989 to 2014 we participated in the presentation of Missoula Children’s Theatre. 2015 saw the beginning of Spark, a youth mentorship program in presenting the performing arts.
Sunflower Art and Craft Market, begun in 1979, is held annually in September at the Gallagher Centre.
Over the years, we have acted as a catalyst for the formation of organizations such as the Parkland Writer's Alliance, the Kids Klan Theatre and in 2003 the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery.
The Community pARTners Gallery was created in 2006 through a partnership with the Yorkton Public Library. It is a community space featuring exhibits by local artists and OSAC Art on the Move touring exhibitions.
In 2007 the Yorkton Arts Council purchased Floyd Wanner’s sculpture Caregiver and donated it to the City of Yorkton. It is installed in front of the historic Land Titles Building which is part of the Godfrey Dean Cultural Centre.
The Yorkton Regional High School's Anne Portnuff Theatre was refurbished in the summer of 2018. The user groups of the theatre, spearheaded by the Yorkton Arts Council, banded together to raise funds for the project.
Other community partnerships have included Yorkton Film Festival’s Open Cinema, Parkland Writer’s Alliance Story Slam and Culture Days events with the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery.
The original home of the Yorkton Arts Centre on Smith Street in downtown Yorkton.
The site is now home to the Godfrey Dean Cultural Centre, which houses the Arts Council, Yorkton Film Festival and Godfrey Dean Art Gallery.