Calgary

Indefinite Arts finds fancy temporary home after roof collapse forces move

The arts group that was displaced by the collapse of the Fairview Arena roof has found a new temporary home in the world's largest YMCA.

Move to new Shane Homes YMCA made roof collapse 'a blessing in disguise' for group says executive director

Jung-Suk Ryu, executive director of the Indefinite Arts Centre, says the organization is thrilled to have been offered a temporary home by the new Shane Homes YMCA in Rocky Ridge. (CBC)

The worst thing to happen to the Indefinite Arts Centre may turn out to be the best.

The Calgary group, which supports artists with developmental disabilities, was forced out of its organizational home on Feb. 20 when the next door Fairview Arena roof collapsed. 

But now, the group has found a new temporary home — in the new Shane Homes YMCA in northwest Calgary.

Executive director Jung-Suk Ryu said the roof disaster turned out to be a blessing.

"I knew instinctively this was going to work out, because the Y was really bending over backward to try and make this work," Ryu said.

"We're thrilled they've been able to offer this temporary home as a solution for us."

No injuries were reported after the roof collapsed at Fairview Arena in southeast Calgary, next door to the home of the Indefinite Arts Centre. (Julie Debeljak/CBC)

Ryu said it's unlikely that the organization will return to its former location.

"What we do know for a certain fact is that the arena itself is completely gone," he said. "There's no real hope of rehabbing that site. It has to be completely demolished."

The Indefinite Arts Centre was housed in a building adjoining the arena. Its roof didn't collapse.

"The extent of the damage to our facilities is still unknown," Ryu said.

"I've told city officials even if somehow the city tries to makes that space work for us, our interest in returning to that particular building is actually quite low."

State of the art facility

The new $192-million Shane Homes YMCA — the world's largest — is located in northwest Calgary's Rocky Ridge neighbourhood, which presents commuting challenges for some of the organization's artists, Ryu said.

"We are working with Access Calgary to try and ensure there's some form of expedited service and some extra care paid to the needs of our artists travelling various distances to go to the Shane Homes Y," he said. "The bigger challenge now is Calgary Transit.

The new Shane Homes YMCA is a 284,000-square-foot, $192-million, multi-use facility located in northwest Calgary. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

"A portion of our artists who independently take Calgary Transit may have some difficulty getting to the space, and we're going to work on that on a case-by-case basis to make sure it works."

The organization has been guaranteed a home through June, when its programming year concludes. That gives the group some time to find a permanent home, Ryu said.

City responds with support

The upheaval of the last week has raised Indefinite Arts' public profile throughout the city — resulting in an outpouring of support from Calgarians.

"The collapse of the roof — within the context that nobody got hurt — was a blessing in disguise for us," he said.

"So many more people know about Indefinite Arts Centre than they would have before — and I think so many more people are proud of the fact there's a place, a centre, a home for people with developmental disabilities right here in their backyard in Calgary."

About the Author

Stephen Hunt

Digital Writer

Stephen Hunt is a digital writer at the CBC in Calgary. Email: stephen.hunt@cbc.ca