Nova Scotia and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality are launching a study to look at converting the former Holy Angels Convent and High School in Sydney into an arts centre.

Graham Steele, the province's Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, said the $100,000 study is intended to help develop a centre for Cape Breton-based artists where they can work, rehearse and perform.

Steele said the study is an important step for community development corporation New Dawn Enterprises, which bought the school in May, to come up a with a plan to support the local arts and culture sector.

The school was founded in 1885 and until its closure in 2011 was the only public all girls' high school east of Montreal.

The province is spending $80,000 for the research and the municipality is spending $20,000.