The future of a Calgary arts collective known as Art Central is uncertain after the owners contacted tenants in January to let them know that the building is slated for redevelopment.


A building slated for redevelopment in downtown houses the offices of the city-owned Calgary Arts Development and Art Central. (Art Central)

Art Central, which is located at Centre Street and Seventh Avenue S.E., houses a number of artist studios and galleries, as well as the offices for the city-owned Calgary Arts Development.

"This morning when I was taking a shower, thinking about it — where am I going to go now if they destroy the building?" said Bassrrou Sylla, a jewellery maker whose workshop in Art Central doubles as a store-front.

Sylla says his first goal was to land a space in Art Central when he moved to Calgary from Senegal four years ago.

Last summer he realized that goal, but now says he isn't sure what he will do if the building is closed.

Redevelopment far from certainty, says building owner

"What we know is that the landlords have talked to the tenants about the fact that, sometime in the future, this building is going to be redeveloped," said Calgary Arts Department CEO Terry Rock.

The company that owns the building is based in Toronto and said in an email that while redevelopment is "far from being a certainty," they wanted to be proactive by letting tenants know as soon as possible that the option is under consideration.

Meanwhile, short-term leases at the building are still being offered and Sylla says that until he's forced to leave, he will continue creating and selling his goods at Art Central.

"I'm going to be here until they kick me out," he said.