Moosomin town council: Town commits $150,000 for Visual Arts Centre

November 13, 2023, 8:19 am
Kevin Weedmark


Moosomin town council has committed $150,000 to assist in establishing a Visual Arts Centre in Moosomin.

Councillor Chris Davidson made the motion Wednesday to provide an annual grant of $50,000 a year for 2024, 2025, and 2026, with a review of the annual funding commitment in the fall each year.

Council also asked the Visual Arts Centre organization to fundraise throughout the year, and asked to have a councillor on the board of the arts centre.

The decision was made after council met with a delegation of Krista Crellin and Terry Grant of the Visual Arts Centre at the council meeting Wednesday.
“When we first started this we wrote a letter to the economic development committee about the benefit of the arts and why we should do this,” Crellin told council.

“Cultural attractions, museums, theatres, and galleries draw tourists and residents alike. In Canada, cultural tourists tend to stay longer and spend more, contributing to local businesses and tourism revenues.

“Investing in the arts is a wise economic decision for Canadian communities. It generates employment, contributes to GDP, attracts tourism and business, enhances property values, fosters innovation, and enriches the lives of residents. The arts not only make a community culturally vibrant but also drive economic growth.”

She pointed to statistics showing that cultural industries (which includes printed media in Stats Can’s figures) are a larger contributor to the economy than sports and recreation.

“Sports have a positive economic spinoff, and so do the arts,” she said.
The delegation presented a proposed budget for the facility, including a salary for a full-time employee and building occupancy costs.

Councillor Chris Davidson suggested a contribution to cover the cost of the building for three years. “Would you be happy with a commitment of $50,000 a year for three years?” he asked
“Having the biggest expense covered would help you,” said Councillor Murray Gray.

“We could make a three year commitment and revisit it each year,” said Davidson.

Crellin pointed out that the group will be holding an art and craft sale as a fundraiser as part of Moonlight Madness.

Mayor Larry Tomlinson asked about the capital budget for equipment.
“We need $100,000 but we wouldn’t need it all right away,” said Crellin.
“We could start with pottery and cooking classes, and an after school program for not a lot of cost.”

Gray said a lot of work has been done to bring the project to this point.
“Your group should be credited for the time and energy you have put into this,” he said.

After meeting with the delegation, council discussed support for the arts centre.

“Why don’t we make the commitment of $50,000 a year for three years,” said Davidson.

“If everyone sees the town is involved, it will make it easier to get donations.”

Happy to see support

In an interview Thursday, Crellin and Grant said they were happy to see the support from the town.

“That’s great news,” said Crellin.

“We went into this fighting for the arts, so we weren’t really sure what kind of reception we’d get. So to hear that they’re willing to support us by that amount, is great.”

The group is ready to move on to the next steps.

“We need to talk to our board and let everyone know what’s going on, we need to secure our location and start fundraising,” Grant said.

The whole process started with a letter from Crellin to the economic development committee in the spring, and Crellin says she didn’t realize where that would lead.

“I didn’t think that I’d get an answer at all, actually,” she says. “I thought that I was just throwing that idea out there and they’d be like, ‘Ah, no thanks.’ So to have it go this far, this quick, is great.”

The group is expecting strong support from the community after conducting an online poll about the need for an arts centre in Moosomin.

“The poll is a great indicator of interest and people seem excited about it,” said Crellin. “We had a lot of responses to that poll and a lot of people suggesting their own art classes that they were interested in, so it’s promising.”

Pottery and cooking classes may be some of the first to be offered.
“It depends on a lot of stuff but I think pottery was one of the most popular for sure, so I think that we’ll probably start that up if we have the space to do that, and cooking classes were also a really popular thing on our poll, and that would be really easy to set up. Painting is another one that is easy to start up as well—painting and drawing and all those kinds of things that don’t require a lot of equipment.

“There was interest in an after school program, so certainly we’d be looking into that right away too, to get that going pretty quickly.”

Crellin said there will be many aspects to the new arts centre.

“Hopefully we would have a gallery space for them to have a look at and then they can come in and work on any projects on their own or they can sign up for classes. We hope to have a variety of classes, a few times a week.”

Grant said many classes could be going on at the same time in the centre.
“I would hope there would be activity happening in multiple spaces. In the clay space you could have a pottery class happening and there could be classes happening in the learning space,” he says.

Grant said he believes the centre will be important to Moosomin in the long run.

“I think it’s really important,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming and it’s been an unmet need for a lot of people. So I just hope that people actually, once we get it rolling, take advantage of it and use it.

“I know from our board standpoint, we’re all very excited. Arts is a big part of our lives so it just makes sense for us to encourage it to be a part of other people’s lives.”

Crellin says she is excited. “As soon as you hear that it’s a possibility and that the town is supporting it, all of the ideas start flowing and you get excited again after that. There are so many ideas.”

“So many ideas,” agreed Grant. “Now to put them into play.”