Indefinite Arts Centre continues funding fight for new home

The Indefinite Arts Centre may be down but it’s far from done in its quest to finance a new building.

Chief executive Jung-Suk Ryu says it stung when the Alberta government declined to approve financing through the Investment for Canadian Infrastructure Program.

“I must say it’s a little bit disappointing to not see this project move forward right at this moment,” Ryu said. “I understand that these things take a little bit of time. So really it’s about assessing what our next steps are going to be, and hopefully getting all of our partners back at the table.”

Indefinite Arts originally requested $7.5 million from the province to finance a $21.5-million facility that would be comprised of three main components:

  • An expanded visual arts centre that would allow space to include the 100 artists currently on a waiting list; introduce a digital literacy program; and rent studio space to non-disabled artist to help fund operational costs.
  • A social enterprise centre that would include a restaurant to serve the community and focus on employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities; along with a larger craft and art gallery and a framing shop.
  • A multi-use theatre that would be used for performing arts and provide community gathering communities.

“I think our partners need to realize that this is not a frill, that this is absolutely an essential program that is completely innovative in providing level of supports for people with disabilities that is completely unique to Calgary and Alberta,” Ryu said.

“As much as our government would like to endorse every worthwhile initiative, there were 700 applicants for ICIP funding and we had to make a number of difficult decisions,” said Hadyn Place, a spokesperson for the minister of infrastructure.

“Over 70 applications have been endorsed and we are hopeful that the federal government will get money out the door quickly for these shovel-ready projects.”

The current building is almost 60 years old and was damaged when the roof of adjoining Fairview Arena collapsed in February 2018.

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