Fort McMurray could be getting its first art centre in the coming years.
Wood Buffalo council approved considering a $15 million ask from Keyano College for the facility in their 2020 budget at their meeting on Tuesday.
Also included is possible funds to maintain the development and ongoing operations of the proposed International Art Gallery and existing theatre.
Speaking to reporters, Keyano President Dr. Trent Keough says this should help enhance the art community and encourage more artists to stay in the community.
“The opportunity to finish a fine arts degree in Fort McMurray would likely keep more people here. If we give people options they’ll make choices, right now they don’t have options and they can’t make choices.”
Some people believe the arts have taken a backseat to other professions and industry.
Keough believes students who want to take a course in the arts should be given as many opportunities as those who choose other paths.
“People should live by their passion, they should live by what they’re interested in, and if somebody wishes to become an artist and they’re not capable of becoming a world-renowned artist who makes millions of dollars and they can be happy being an artist then we should give them the opportunity to make those choices.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Don Scott is hoping this turns the community into a art hub.
He adds the funding hasn’t been approved yet, however, he’s confident his council colleagues see the importance of this project.
“I think people are going to say ‘if you want to pursue a career in the arts, or participate in the arts, or volunteer in the arts, and see good things in the arts then you’re going to come to Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo.”
Council is expected to start budget deliberations in November.