Residents Voice Concerns Over Keyano’s Approved Art Gallery

Not everyone is thrilled with the RMWB’s decision to help fund an art gallery at Keyano College.

Last week, Wood Buffalo council approved a $16.8 million capital grant for the college to move forward on a proposal to create an international art gallery for the community.

The gallery will be an extension and adaptation of the Keyano Theater.

In a release, Keyano President and CEO Trent Keough says this will help sustain, enliven and grow the local arts community and attract artists from the international stage.

“I’d like to thank Council for debating the proposal, especially Mike Allen for his passionate and knowledgeable advocacy for the arts and the gallery, Mayor Don Scott and Councillors Bruce Inglis, and Jane Stroud who also voted for it,” Keough said.

The college was also approved for a Sustaining Grant of $587 thousand for the Keyano Theatre, which has been a community centrepiece for over 40 years.

A $1.2-million request for funding to support the operations of the Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre was not approved by Council.

The interior of the proposed gallery. Photo courtesy: Keyano College

Residents Voice Concerns On Gallery

With news of the gallery, not all are seeing the logic to it.

Mix News took to the streets to ask residents what their thoughts are and found a variety of mixed opinions.

One resident, Rachael Heffern, took issue with the price tag more than anything.

“I think an art gallery is a good idea but I also think that’s an extreme amount,” she said.

Another local, John Shury was not overly thrilled with the municipality’s decision.

“Well I think it could probably be spent elsewhere on better things than art. There’s a lot of people in this town who need help.”

There were some locals who are viewing the gallery as a good thing for the community.

Resident Matt Pate tells Mix News it makes sense for a community like ours to facilitate the arts in this way.

“I don’t see why we don’t have a place for fine arts and a place to display things like that. I’m sure in today’s economy but long term it’s an asset to have. It’s a good thing term for the community. You have to look past what’s happening today and look ten years down the road at what we want the community to look like.’

Keyano is also looking to consider a new Arts program.

In the next few days, the college says its leadership will work with officials in the region to move the project forward.

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