Calgary

City to consider lower rents for arts groups

Artists who work out of a space in southeast Calgary will get a break on their recently doubled rent if a motion presented at city hall passes.
Rent recently doubled at the city-owned home of Artpoint Gallery & Studios Society in southeast Calgary. ((CBC))
Artists who work out of a space in southeast Calgary will get a break on their recently doubled rent if a motion presented at city hall passes.

Ald. Joe Ceci asked council Monday to consider lowering the rent on city-owned buildings slated for demolition when they are leased to non-profit arts and culture groups.

The idea could allow dozens of artists at Artpoint Gallery and Studios Society to keep working in Ramsay, said its president Jacqulynn Mulyk.

When the non-profit artist-run cooperative renewed its lease at a city-owned building on 11th Street S.E. — a property due for demolition to make way for the future southeast LRT line — the rent was increased from about $33,000 to $64,000. That market-value rate is more than the society can afford, said Mulyk.

But Ceci's motion would lower Artpoint's rent back to the previous level.

"Well it's fantastic and I think it's a real wake up call for us as members, too. We need to really celebrate what we have and use the funds that we do gather to create a real presence," she said.

Letting cultural groups use properties like the one in Ramsay at a reduced rate also has the support of the body established by the city to promote arts in Calgary.

"It will be quite important if Calgary has this kind of solution," said Terry Rock, president and CEO of Calgary Arts Development.

"Affordable space for the arts is a big problem for the growth of our arts sector. We have post secondary's that are producing grads every year and they need places to work."

The motion will be discussed at a committee meeting on May 11.