New Brunswick

Moncton, Dieppe explore creating contemporary art museum

Moncton and Dieppe are examining creating a contemporary art museum that could focus on Acadian and Indigenous works in the coming years.

Feasibility study 'favourable' to museum that could focus on Acadian and Indigenous works

Catherine Dallaire, general manager of recreation, culture and events, says Moncton councillors will soon hear more about a contemporary art museum feasibility study. (Shane Magee/CBC)

Moncton and Dieppe are examining the creation of a contemporary art museum that could focus on Acadian and Indigenous works.

The cities, together with non-profit Atlantic(que) Image-Art Inc., or AIA, have been quietly studying the concept.

Catherine Dallaire, Moncton's general manager of recreation, culture and events, told councillors during city budget deliberations that she believes a feasibility study is close to completion. 

"We hope to be able to present that to council as well in the coming months," Dallaire said Wednesday.

Study 'favourable' to idea

"It is favourable for the creation of a contemporary art museum in our area, possibly with a focus on Acadian art, as well as Indigenous art," Joanne Duguay, Moncton's cultural development officer, said in an interview about the study Thursday. 

"So we're really hopeful that this project will move forward from there."

Joanne Duguay, Moncton's cultural development officer, says the study is 'favourable' toward creating a contemporary art museum with a possible focus on Acadian and Indigenous art. (Submitted/Joanne Duguay)

She said Moncton's 2011 cultural plan had a museum as a priority item. A group was formed several years ago to pursue studying the idea. Dieppe council voted in January 2018 to lend financial support for a study of a contemporary art museum in southeastern New Brunswick.

A tender was issued in February this year for a multi-phase study. It sought a consultant to carry out a feasibility study to  evaluate the potential for a museum in either Dieppe or Moncton.

Lord Cultural Resources Inc. of Toronto was selected. The firm describes itself as the world's largest firm offering planning services for museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions.

Dieppe, Moncton and the federal government each contributed $25,000 for the study, while the province paid $10,000.

The first phase included a market analysis as well as an economic and social impact assessment. A second phase included a financial feasibility assessment.

Cost estimate in another phase

A third phase, not part of the tender, would produce a preliminary cost estimate and conceptual design. Duguay said a decision will need to be made based on the study's initial results whether to move ahead, which would require funding the next phase. 

"The ultimate goal of the feasibility study is to assist AIA Inc. and the cities in moving forward with the construction and operation of a contemporary art museum by demonstrating the project's feasibility and long-term operational sustainability to key stakeholders," the tender notice states. 

Paulette Thériault, a Moncton councillor, says a museum would be a long-term project that would be great for the region. (CBC)

Duguay said the intention would be to create something that doesn't duplicate what already exists in the area and would attract visitors. 

'Long-term project'

Coun. Paulette Thériault said the University of Moncton and Mount Allison University in Sackville have contributed to a cohort of artists in the region. 

"I think there is a need for something like this," Thériault said. She added she's yet to see the study, and city hall will have to consider where this project could fit into its priorities. 

"I see this as a long-term project, but I think it would be a great project for the city and for the region as well," Thériault said.

About the Author

Shane Magee

Reporter

Shane Magee is a Moncton-based reporter for CBC.

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