An art gallery at Keyano College is getting closer to becoming a reality.
Wood Buffalo council approved up to $16.8 million from their capital infrastructure reserve for the project during their budget deliberations.
The approval does come with certain terms including a legal review, a commitment to investigate additional funding sources, consulting the community, providing quarterly updates, and more.
Keyano President and CEO Trent Keough says this gallery is a giant step towards better supporting the local arts.
“Artists are devoted to the craft and they need to be respected for that and we need to support them because we cannot be a civil society if we only produce for workforce and art is a workforce in and of itself.”
Mayor Don Scott and Councillors Mike Allen, Bruce Inglis, and Jane Stroud voted in favour while Councillor Verna Murphy, Phil Meagher, and Sheila Lalonde were against. Councillor Jeff Peddle did not participate due to a pecuniary interest.
Murphy and Meagher both noted they supported the idea just not the dollar amount. The RMWB’s task of lowering their tax ratio to 5:1 was brought up multiple times during debate.
However, Allen noted council needed to commit to their promise of growing the arts.
“In order for us to sustain arts and culture and build it and make it grow, it must, must, have an education component to it.”
Moving forward, Keyano plans on reaching out to the province and industry to see whether they can provide funds. If funds are given then the municipality would start to receive their funds back from Keyano.
Meanwhile, council also approved giving the college over $587,000 as a sustaining grant for the Keyano Theatre. Keough says without the grant the theatre wouldn’t be able to survive.
Councillors Murphy and Lalonde voted against this funding.