'This has been a long journey': Remai Modern Art Gallery opening Oct. 21

After delays and cost overruns, Saskatoon's new, publicly funded art gallery is set to open this fall.

Art gallery slated to open after more than a year delay

The Remai Modern Art Gallery in Saskatoon will open Oct. 21, 2017. (Eric Anderson/CBC)

After a long wait, Saskatchewan's newest art gallery is set to finally open its doors to the public this fall.

The Remai Modern Art Gallery in Saskatoon will open Oct. 21. The first major main floor exhibit will be free to the public and will showcase some local and national Indigenous artists. 

"This has been a long journey," Mayor Charlie Clark said at the announcement on Monday.

"There has been lots of bumps in the road." 

He acknowledged the "challenges" and "criticisms" the project has faced over the years. 

Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Clark said he does not regret that the gallery was built. 

"If we could go all the way to the beginning and do things differently, there are things that I think would be done different. But was the decision to have a single, substantial cultural destination on the riverbank at River Landing the wrong one? No, I don't think it was," Clark said. 

Delayed and over budget

The gallery was originally supposed to open last year, but a number of construction delays continued to push that date back. 

Earlier this month, city councillors heard that the City of Saskatoon is still in talks with builder EllisDon over costs and construction delays.

Latest estimates put the funding shortfall between $2.5 million and $4.5 million. The gallery itself was expected to cost around $84 million.

Those costs also don't include a parkade built alongside the gallery that is expected to cost around $19.5 million. 

Clark says the final price tag is still unclear because the city is negotiating with the contractor.

Staff is now in the new building after relocating from the Mendel Art Gallery earlier this year. 

Gregory Burke, the CEO of Remai Modern, said he and his staff are anxious to get the doors open. He acknowledged the delays have been difficult.

"It's been as frustrating for us as it has for everyone else, but it's a very sophisticated building," Burke said. 

He said staff will begin moving art into the new gallery after July 1. 

He's confident that the public will be awestruck when they actually get the see the gallery for the first time. 

"I think everyone will just be blown away. Even if they felt strongly about the gallery shifting to this location and the new gallery being built, when you see inside, it's extraordinary," Burke said. 

Inside the Remai Modern

6 years ago
Duration 0:55
Inside the Remai Modern