Thunder Bay

Kenora art centre gets funding boost from province

Kenora's new art centre is a step closer to reality, thanks to a large grant from the provincial government.

NOHFC announces $1 million for centre on Monday

Lake of the Woods museum manager Lori Nelson speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Lake of the Woods Art Centre in May. (Lake of the Woods Museum/Facebook)

Kenora's new art centre is a step closer to reality, thanks to a large grant from the provincial government.

The province's Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation announced $1 million in funding for the Lake of the Woods Art Centre on Monday.

Another $2.5 million has been brought in through a fundraising campaign. Another $1 million is needed to finish the $4.5 million project, said Lori Nelson, director of the Lake of the Woods Museum (the art centre is an expansion of the museum).

Nelson said an application has been made to the federal government for the remaining $1 million, with a response expected within the next few weeks.

Public gallery

"Kenora's never had a public art gallery," Nelson said. "The museum has fulfilled that function for a number of years, but because of limitations of space and staffing and resources, we have not been able to really do what we hope will happen in the new art centre."

The new art centre will not only act as a public gallery, but art classes will be offered, as well.

Nelson said work on the new centre began about three years ago, when two long-time summer Lake of the Woods residents offered a collection of works by Canadian artist Walter J. Phillips to the museum.

That collection will be the foundation fo the art centre's gallery, but Nelson said it will also showcase work by local, regional and Indigenous artists.

"We're very appreciative of all the support we've received for it," Nelson said. "It's an indication of the merit of this project, and also the excitement that people have about it."

Construction began in May, and the goal is to have the new centre open in summer 2019.