A contemporary space. A creative community to inspire artists, residents, and visitors. Artist-led and artist-focused.

Eltuek (el-du-eg) is a Mi’kmaw word that means “We are making (it) together.” The (it) refers to whatever it is (we) decide to make - art, ideas, music, community, social change. Eltuek Arts Centre is accessible, inclusive, and continuous.

Eltuek Arts Centre is in Sydney, Unama'ki (Cape Breton Island). Eltuek features artist studios, Open Studio for shared artist workspaces, gallery and exhibition spaces, the Cafe Marie and Meals on Wheels, Nova Scotia Community College Music Arts Program, Celtic Colours International Festival, NovaStream, and The Coast 89.7 FM Radio Station.

Our private studios are currently at capacity. Please contact us at eltuek@newdawn.ca to be added to the waitlist. We will be opening more desk workspaces in the Open Studio in 2022.

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About Us

Eltuek Arts Centre/Ta’n etl-mawita’mk is an arts centre and creative hub operated by New Dawn Enterprises. We are a non-profit cultural organization that offers affordable and accessible work space for artists, host exhibitions and programming, event rental spaces for the community, and feature the Cafe Marie and Community Kitchen, as well as several anchor tenants.

We convene an Elders Advisory Committee comprised of Elders from the Island’s five Mi’kmaw communities. The Elders Advisory Committee works to ensure that the building and its programming are safe, welcoming, and relevant to Mi’kmaw artists and community members. We also convene an Advisory Committee that consists of artists, tenants, and members of the creative community across Unama’ki/Cape Breton.

We strongly believe in all the benefits of the arts to communities — their ability to transform places, give people hope, give people a new way to see themselves and the world, start conversations, connect, challenge, bring joy. We are artist-led and artist-focused.

To this end, we want to make the arts more visible — to give people a place to work that is safe, inclusive, affordable, and beautiful.


To make space that nurtures creation, connects artists with each other and with the community, and invites engagement with the arts as a means of individual and community empowerment for a more honest and just society.


An open, vibrant, creative, supportive, and experimental space for arts and social change.

Transformation of the building: 1885–Today

1885: Sisters of The Congregation of Notre Dame establish the Holy Angels Convent

In 1885 the Sisters of The Congregation of Notre Dame, with the assistance of the parishioners of Sacred Heart Church and their priest Fr. James Quinan who lead the initiative, built the first all-girls boarding and day-school East of Montreal. In its 126-year history, the Holy Angels Convent was the place of learning for hundreds of girls living in Sydney, NS and the surrounding areas.

From the very beginning, the curriculum offered at Holy Angels, apart from catechism lessons, focused on the fine arts. Classes in music, visual arts, theatre, and dance were important elements of the education received by students, the results of which were shared with the nearby community through performances and exhibitions.

2011: New Dawn purchases the property — A New Beginning

Following the closure of the high school in 2011, New Dawn purchased the property in 2013 and began to assess how it might be reused. In 2014/15, New Dawn enlisted the help of Lord Cultural Resources to conduct a series of community consultations that would lead to a new vision for the property. With the concept of an arts centre in hand, New Dawn staff visited several similar Centres in Toronto and Moncton to learn about the operations and development of similar centres.

2017: Renovations begin on Canada’s newest Arts & Culture Centre

In 2017, Nova Scotia Communities, Culture, and Heritage committed $3.2 million towards the transformation of Eltuek Arts Centre and the Government of Canada committed $5.5 million to the Convent as one of four creative hubs in Canada, alongside others in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. With this initial funding secured, renovations began in the Convent in 2017.

Renovations have included demolition and abatement (asbestos and lead), structural assessments and reinforcements, civil services upgrades, new building envelope, windows, and roof, building circulation alterations (north stair and south stair), accessibility upgrades (elevator, door size, washrooms), new heating, ventilation and air conditioning infrastructure, masonry repair, interior partitions, and new plumbing and washrooms.

These renovations have been guided by a substantive design team that includes Trifos Design Consultants (Architects of Record), DTAH (Design Architects), DORA (Construction and Project Management), ONSA (Mechanical and Electrical Design), Entro (Environmental Design), and Blackwell (Structural Engineers), in a construction management build.

2020: Re-opening

When the Convent re-opens it will be home to four larger arts organization tenants, three meeting/presentation spaces (15 people, 40 people, and 100 people), an open lounge/cafe and community kitchen (operated by Cafe Marie and New Dawn Meals on Wheels), and over 40 independent artists and artist collectives within 21 private studio spaces and 22 furnished spaces in a large open studio.