$4.5 million Rize contribution to Mount Pleasant art space subject of March 14 workshop with local groups

Mount Pleasant community leaders, arts organizations and local artists will be gathering with city staff March 14 for a day-long workshop to consider the best strategy to invest a $4.5 million community amenity contribution intended to support the community’s art scene.

The money is the result of the rezoning for the Rize project at Broadway and Kingsway. Council directed staff to report back on ways the money could support the arts “in the form of a capital contribution and/or operating endowment to bring on line community-based artist production space in Mount Pleasant.”

City manager Penny Ballem has circulated this memo to council and senior staff to outline the work done to date to improve artist space in Mount Pleasant and city-wide. Just confirmed right on Mount Pleasant’s doorstep: 21,000 square feet of city-owned space at 281 Industrial Ave. to be leased to the Arts Factory for studio space, shared production space and the Great Northern Way Scene Shop.

Allocating the $4.5 million offers some special challenges. City policy requires that the investment benefit the neighbourhood, produce a long-term public asset and be operationally sustainable.

A report on the consultation is scheduled to come to council in May.