Remai Modern Art Gallery opening date still 'to be determined'

The Remai Modern Art Gallery continues to struggle with construction delays, according to a report headed to a Saskatoon city council committee.

Gallery hindered with another construction delay, opening date may come from board meeting this week

It's currently not clear when the Remai Modern Art Gallery will open. (Eric Anderson/CBC)

It's still not clear when the Remai Modern Art Gallery will open.

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

Speaking to the City of Saskatoon's governance and priorities committee, Remai board members admitted a date had not been set, but are hoping to fix that at an upcoming board meeting, set for Tuesday night.

"To be perfectly honest, this is a real source of frustration for members of the board," said vice-chair Scott Verity.

"Until we can have a firm, substantial completion date, we're unable to move forward with plans toward opening."

The latest construction delays now estimate that the interior of the building will be finished by mid-March. The gallery will then need approximately eight months to prepare for opening day.

While the gallery will attempt to compress the eight-month preparation time, Verity said national standards for art conservation means the gallery space must meet strict standards for humidity and temperature control, over the span of many months.

"The normal period of time that museums look to is a nine to 11 month period," he said. "We have planned on compressing that as much as we can."

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      Budget woes

      Some councillors grilled the board members on whether staff members needed to be hired so far away from when the gallery will actually open. However, board members said money has not been wasted on staff.

      "They were all relevant for things that were happening in the transition period," said Keitha McClocklin, chair of the board's audit and finance committee.

      "There haven't been that many new people hired. Most of the people in the gallery did have some role when it was still the Mendel."

      The Mendel Art Gallery closed as a public gallery in June 2015.

      The delay is likely to have financial implications for the gallery.

      With the opening date pushed back, the gallery said it would be missing lucrative opportunities for tourism dollars and wedding bookings typically seen in the summer and early autumn.

      During budget deliberations in December, city council voted to cut $75,000 from the Remai's operating subsidy of more than $5 million per year


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