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Arts Incubator Survey – Share Your Feedback on Proposed New Facility for Wood Buffalo

From Sept. 16 until Oct. 6, Arts Council is inviting artists, residents, businesses and industry to take a short survey and share feedback on an arts incubator facility proposed for the Landmark Cinema 6 building in downtown Fort McMurray.

The survey runs until Oct. 6, and feedback will help inform plans to remodel the old cinema into an arts incubator space that can support and nurture a diverse range of arts and culture.

“An arts incubator is a purpose-built space that can be used as a centre for artists to gather and work,” said Special Projects Manager, Sharon Heading, “but it’s much more than that. We envision it as a venue for performances, workshops and showcases, as a community gathering space, and as a place to host events and festivals that offer a broad opportunity for engagement with the arts.”

“Earlier this year we began working with Akron Engineering on a feasibility study,” said Executive Director, Liana Wheeldon. “Funding has been provided by Community Foundations of Canada via the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) to determine if and how the cinema building could be repurposed for an arts incubator. Now we’re ready to engage with the public to get feedback on the project and evaluate the benefits for everyone in our region.”

Feedback from the community will help identify ways to complement strategic goals and priorities for economic development and downtown revitalization, enhance artistic and cultural outlets, and provide more local options for education and entertainment.

The survey will also help Arts Council learn more about the demographics of the arts community, assess needs for programming and infrastructure, and share information about how arts incubators can benefit communities and local economies. Examples of arts incubators include cSPACE King Edward in Calgary, or Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design.

ACWB is not able to include feedback made on social media in the engagement results. Everyone is encouraged to provide feedback in the survey, so it can be included in engagement results and help inform decision making. 

Next steps for the proposed arts incubator include evaluating feedback from the community and the feasibility study provided by Akron Engineering due in fall 2020. Results will be shared when available.

Follow ACWB on social media (@artscouncilwb) or visit the Arts Council Wood Buffalo website regularly for ongoing updates and news about the proposed arts incubator.

FAQ’s

Q – What’s an arts incubator?

A – An arts incubator is a purpose-built space that can be used as a centre for artists to gather and work, a venue for performances, workshops and galleries, a community gathering space, and even host events and festivals. Examples include cSPACE King Edward in Calgary or Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design.

Q – Where will the arts incubator be located?

A – The feasibility study is based on the former Landmark Cinemas building in the heart of downtown on Manning Avenue.

Q – Why did you choose that location?

A – The former movie theatre building is no longer in use and up for sale. The property presents many options and opportunities that are closely linked to the arts incubator concept, including theatre, movie and rehearsal space, large rooms, and outdoor space for parking, markets and events.  

In addition, the building is located in the downtown area, which has been identified by local government as an area for redevelopment. Findings from the municipal government’s public engagement has shown that this area is ideal for arts and cultural space as well as economic development.

Q – What is a feasibility study?

A – A feasibility study will help determine if and how the cinema building could be repurposed for an arts incubator, identify opportunities and challenges, and begin the process of envisioning and designing the project.

Q – Where did you get funding for the feasibility study? 

A – Funding for the feasibility study has been provided by Community Foundations of Canada via the Investment Readiness Program (IRP).

Q – Where do you plan to get money to pay for the arts incubator?

A – Part of the feasibility study is determining the cost of this project. From there, Arts Council will create a Fund Development Plan and Capital Fundraising Campaign. 

Additionally, there are a number of grants available provincially, federally, and through private corporations that support the development of arts infrastructure.  Examples of potential funders could be Canadian Heritage and Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Q – Will any you be using Municipal tax dollars or funding to pay for the arts incubator?

A – Arts Council has not requested or received municipal funding to pay for this project. However, Arts Council is always open to discuss opportunities, synergies and ways to complement strategic planning for the benefit of everyone in the region.

Q – I live in a rural Indigenous community. How will the arts incubator benefit me?

A – Arts Council has proposed an arts incubator to be located in Fort McMurray, but we welcome participation from all communities and groups from across the region. 

Once established, the arts incubator will use the “spoke and hub model” to provide services to rural and Indigenous communities.  The Artist in Residency program could be inclusive of the rural areas. For example, artists would spend time mentoring residents in rural communities, but the artists would create their work at the incubator facility in Fort McMurray.

Q – How can I help make this project a reality?

A – Anyone wishing to donate to this project or other ACWB initiatives may do so through our website – donations $50 and over are eligible for a Charitable Donation Receipt and donors can specify which program, project, or service they wish their donation dollars to support, including the Arts Incubator.

You can also help by participating in the Arts Incubator Survey (open until Oct. 6, 2020) or in any other potential public engagement opportunities. Follow Arts Council on social media (@artscouncilwb) or visit the ACWB website regularly for updates and information.

Q – How much will the arts incubator cost to build?

A – Part of the feasibility study is determining the cost of this project, including renovations, purchasing the property and operations.

Q – How much does the cinema property cost?

A – Fair market value will be assessed if the feasibility study indicates that this project is viable.

Q – How much will the arts incubator cost to operate?

A – It is difficult to know what the operation costs would be before a detailed design of the arts incubator has been finalized. We are working with funding professionals to better understand costs in greater detail.

Q – Will the arts incubator earn revenue? If so, how much?

A – Yes. One of Arts Council’s financial goals for this project is that this arts incubator be self-sustaining within 4-5 years of opening doors to the community. This means that the arts incubator would eventually operate based on revenues earned from serving the community, sponsorship and donors.

Q – What will happen with the profits/revenue earned by the arts incubator?

The arts incubator will be based on a business model known as a ‘social enterprise.’ Social enterprises are revenue-generating businesses with a twist. A social enterprise is a revenue-generating business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to deliver profit to shareholders and owners.  (Definition provided by BC Centre for Social Enterprise.)