Arts Council Moving Forward With Turning Old Movie Theatre Into Arts Incubator

Arts Councill Wood Buffalo is moving forward with turning the old downtown movie theatre into an arts incubator.

They recently held a survey to get public feedback on the potential project, getting an overwhelming level of support with nearly half of the respondents stating they don’t consider themselves artists.

Executive Director Liana Wheeldon tells Mix News they see this space doing wonders for the local art community.

“A lot of artists in our region do this as kind of a side hustle or off the corner of a kitchen table, but to be able to have the opportunity to have some purpose-built space to be able to create art will do so much for their practice.”

The old theatres will be turned into spaces that focus on different types of art.

This includes culinary, dance, and theatre.

One will remain virtually the same so smaller theatre groups can rehearse, while another will be split into individual artist studios.

ACWB is hoping the incubator will help with downtown revitalization, while also encouraging other artists to visit the region.

“You want to move to a city where there’s creativity and where there’s options,” added Wheeldon.

“We have the most beautiful recreation centres in the world and now we need just a few more really beautiful art spaces for people to encounter the arts, engage with it, and practice it.”

The project is slated to cost between $10 million – $14 million with plans to fund it themselves.

They are expecting to save around $10 million by renovating the theatre instead of constructing a brand new building.

They are scheduled to speak to Wood Buffalo council in June where they’re looking to get a letter of support ahead of their capital campaign.

-With files from Steph Seidel

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