New Saskatoon gallery asks council for cash advance

The Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan will ask Saskatoon city council for an advance of $901,520 so it can pay its construction contractor. It's raised $21 million in donations, but says without the advance, it can't build a multi-purpose room, a cloakroom, or a gallery for touring exhibits.

Promises to pay back the money before new building opens

The foundation for Saskatoon's newest art gallery has already been poured. But the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan says it will have to shrink its plans, if city council refuses to provide a cash advance. 

Gallery officials are asking council to approve a payment of $901,520, so they can square up with Ellis-Don, their construction contractor.

Without the advance, the gallery must scrap plans for an expanded space for touring exhibits. It would also lose spaces that could potentially generate revenue, including a multi-purpose room and a cloakroom.

"Our goal is to build the best gallery we can afford," said Jason Aebig, who chairs the gallery's board of trustees. "Although we were initially asked to raise $20 million toward the construction of the new gallery, the City has asked us to raise additional funds to cover the cost of these deferred items."

Aebig said the gallery will pay back the advance prior to the new building's opening in 2016.

Trustees have raised $21 million dollars in private donations to build the new gallery. The city has already promised $23.5 million for the project. Another $26 million comes in capital funding from the province and from Ottawa.

City council will decide whether to approve the request at its next meeting on Monday.

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