Vancouver Art Gallery waits on federal funds as Calgary venues get $100 million-plus commitments - Vancouver Sun - Canadanewsmedia
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Vancouver Art Gallery waits on federal funds as Calgary venues get $100 million-plus commitments – Vancouver Sun



Ottawa announces $110 million for the arts in Calgary, including $30 million for an art gallery renovation, but no word on how much it’s contributing to building a new VAG

The owner of one of Vancouver’s top art galleries is wondering how long the Vancouver Art Gallery will have to wait for federal funding for a new gallery building.

Andy Sylvester from Equinox Gallery said he found it “embarrassing” that after 11 years of lobbying, the federal government still hasn’t indicated how much it is contributing to a new gallery building.

He said it was “astonishing” that Contemporary Calgary was getting $30 million from the federal government to renovate the city’s Centennial Planetarium after 18 months of lobbying.

Plus, Ottawa announced in late August it was giving an additional $80 million for the expansion of Arts Commons, a multi-venue arts centre in Calgary.

“I do know that in the world of what might be culturally important in our province, the expansion of the Vancouver Art Gallery should be at the very top of the list and it should have been for a long time,” Sylvester said in a phone interview.

“In Vancouver, we’ve been lobbying to get money for the Vancouver Art Gallery for over a decade.”

The VAG said David Calabrigo, chair of the VAG’s board of trustees, was not available Thursday for comment.

An artist’s rendering of the outside the proposed Vancouver Art Gallery.


The gallery issued a statement saying it was aware of the funding announcement for Calgary Contemporary and was “encouraged to see a federal commitment for more funding for the arts in the west.”

“We are continuing to have positive discussions with the federal government about the Vancouver Art Gallery and are relying on them providing a commitment for the same kind of support here,” the statement said.

“We do not have any new updates on those discussions, but with the strong commitments we have had from the city, province and private donors, we are counting on our federal representatives to step forward.”

Hedy Fry is the MP for Vancouver Centre which includes the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her office did not respond to a request for comment.

As of June, the VAG said it had raised $85 million from the private sector that included a $40-million donation from the Chan family. In 2009, the provincial government donated $50 million to the $350-million project, bringing the total raised to about $135 million. The VAG has said it was asking for another $50 million from Victoria and $100 million from Ottawa for the new building designed by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron.

The City of Vancouver has already contributed the site at 688 Cambie at West Georgia on a 99-year lease.


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Greta Thunberg will join Sustainabiliteens at #FridaysforFuture climate strike at Vancouver Art Gallery –




Expect throngs of young and old climate activists to converge on downtown Vancouver on Friday (October 25).

They’ll converge on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery to listen to a speech by their 16-year-old Swedish hero, Greta Thunberg, who will be making her first visit to the city.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thunberg attracted a crowd of 10,000 to 12,000 when she spoke recently in Edmonton.

When she spoke at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City in September, Thunberg emphasized the importance of keeping the global average temperature rise since the start of the Industrial Revolution to below 1.5 C.

“The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50 percent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius] at the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control,” Thunberg told world leaders at the summit. “Fifty percent may be acceptable to you, but those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution, or the aspects of equity and climate justice.

“They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50 percent risk is simply not acceptable to us—we who have to live with the consequences,” she continued. “To have a 67 percent chance of staying below a 1.5-degrees global temperature rise—the best odds given by the IPCC—the world had 420 gigatonnes of CO2 left to emit back on January 1, 2018.

“Today, that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatonnes. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just business as usual and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budgets will be entirely gone within less than eight-and-a-half years.”

Thunberg’s event in Vancouver will be hosted by the teen-climate group Sustainabiliteens Vancouver.

Last year, the north plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery was renamed šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square in honour of the region’s Indigenous heritage.

The name incorporates languages of all three Indigenous peoples in the region—the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish.

Video of Say it with us! šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square

This City of Vancouver video explains how to pronounce the name of  šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square.


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Society says City of Kamloops price tag for new performing arts centre would not exceed $45 million – CFJC Today Kamloops




Benefactors Ron and Rae Fawcett have already committed $3 million, as well as a building already on site.

“We look to secure these funds through fundraising and a contribution from the city. This is very typical of similar projects of this scope,” said Daley.

The proposed PAC would be City of Kamloops-owned.

Council sent the issue to staff for analysis of the business case. Staff will bring a recommendation back to council for its Nov. 5 meeting, conceivably giving the society enough time to meet a Nov. 12 federal grant application deadline.

“We know this project is right now,” said Daley. “We have momentum.”

Councillor Arjun Singh tried to temper the enthusiasm for quick advancement of the project, saying the city would need to carefully weigh how to frame another referendum question asking the public for permission to borrow up to $45 million.

In 2015, Kamloops residents voted 54 per cent against borrowing up to $49 million to help build a PAC with a $90 million price tag.

Daley told Singh he believes the society can sway opponents of the 2015 proposal who were worried about the timing of the expenditure.

“It wasn’t ‘No;’ their big thing was, ‘Not now.’ We’re saying, ‘We think the time right now is the time.’ We believe that there is a basis of support out there.”

Councillor Bill Sarai told Daley a new PAC fits in well with the city’s Tournament Capital identity.

“We’re starting to realize we are the Tournament Capital of Canada, but performing arts is part of recreation,” said Sarai. “There was talk years ago that Sandman Centre would stay empty, you couldn’t fill the seats. Now it’s almost too small on Blazer days. TCC was never going to be used. Now it’s overused.”

“I think back to my family members who were involved in sporting activities — they have the greatest sporting facilities in Western Canada,” said Daley. “I think to my family members who are involved in arts activities — we can give them the greatest venue in Western Canada.”

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Arts upstart Meow Wolf says jobs up after public investment – CityNews Vancouver




SANTA FE, N.M. — Offbeat arts adventure and entertainment company Meow Wolf says it has surpassed hiring goals outlined in a $1.1 million economic development grant from New Mexico and the city of Santa Fe, amid plans for an aggressive business expansion into Denver, Las Vegas and other major U.S. cities.

Meow Wolf co-founder and board member Vince Kadlubek said the addition of 290 employees since 2018 puts the company ahead of employment requirements under the 2017 grant award for building renovations.

The agreement called for Meow Wolf to create 250 jobs at an average salary of $46,000 a year by the end of 2021, with the opportunity for a $100,000 bonus if 300 jobs are created.

The New Mexico Economic Development Department that monitors the grant agreement could not immediately verify employment figures and average salaries on Tuesday. Agency spokesman Bruce Krasnow said it appears that “Meow Wolf has exceeded its job creation goals for state economic assistance.”

More than 1.5 million visitors have visited Meow Wolf’s kaleidoscopic walk- and crawl-through exhibit space in Santa Fe since it opened in a converted bowling alley in early 2016.

The company’s labour practices have come under scrutiny after two former employees filed a lawsuit this year complaining of unpaid wages for overtime and discrimination based on gender. Meow Wolf denies the charges. Court records show the company is seeking to move proceedings to arbitration.

In May, Meow Wolf announced a company-wide $17 hourly minimum wage — or roughly $35,360 a year for fulltime work. Santa Fe’s current minimum wage is $11.80 an hour. Meow Wolf’s executive compensation rates are not public.

Kadlubek, who helped broker the infrastructure award from New Mexico’s closing fund, announced last week in a blog post that he will step down as the company’s CEO to focus on improving his own business skills and taking better care of his personal health.

Going forward, the CEO post is being shared by three Meow Wolf executives, including a former creative director for Disney and a former vice-president at Lucasfilm who worked on business spinoffs from the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” film franchises.

The 2017 award from New Mexico’s closing fund for emerging businesses was used by Meow Wolf to purchase and renovate an art and video production facility on the south side of Santa Fe, in a warehouse previously owned by construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar. The state committed $850,000, and the city of Santa Fe pledged $250,000.

“At this point, we are packed to the brim at that facility, having literally run out of parking spots and space to operate,” Kadlubek said in an email. “So we are, in addition, renting out another 15 locations around the city to accommodate our workforce. It’s amazing.”

New Mexico also previously awarded Meow Wolf $450,000 through a jobs training incentives program to create 33 jobs.

The taxpayer funding is dwarfed by the company’s $158 million securities offering in May — borrowed money from private investors that Meow Wolf is using to expand. Permanent exhibitions are planned for Las Vegas, Denver and Washington, D.C. — along with a hotel-related project in Phoenix.

Morgan Lee, The Associated Press

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