Thriving Arts District Key to Prosperity

Posted on July 2, 2014

A thriving arts community is integral to a thriving city. The Edmonton Galleria Project will lead to significant economic benefits and a higher quality of life in Edmonton. It will also make Edmonton more globally relevant and help draw the best and brightest to our city. Great cities like New York, Paris, Montreal and Berlin understand the value of art, and it’s a major reason for the number of people that both visit and live in those cities.

The arts can have multi-billion dollar impacts on a city’s economy, like Montreal’s. Prosperous arts districts create jobs and opportunities for artists to stay in their hometown. A lack of facilities has led to top Edmonton talent moving away. In order to retain our great artists, we have to cultivate and support our art community, and provide opportunities for it to flourish.

The Edmonton Galleria Project will not only provide four state-of-the-art theatres, but it will host more than 5,000 University of Alberta students, faculty and staff. Edmonton’s graduate students will have a good reason to stay here, and students outside of Edmonton will be more likely to come to a new campus embedded in a vibrant arts district.

The other side of the coin holds true as well. Top artistic talent, and leading business and academic thinkers from across the country and beyond could make Edmonton their home, but only if we have a vibrant, thriving, world class artist community. Global leaders expect a certain standard of cultural opportunities in the cities in which they live. Without more cultural activities, we are restricting business growth. The Edmonton Galleria Project would help position Edmonton among the top choices for employment destinations.

Beyond the significant economic impacts, the Edmonton Galleria Project will add to Edmonton’s quality of life. It will bring more people downtown and add to the number of things to do in a growing downtown core.

Like the arena project, the new performing arts theatres and the new downtown University of Alberta campus will generate many neighboring projects, initiatives and new businesses. More retail, food and entertainment will cluster in the Arts District to be part of the vibrancy, giving Edmontonians and visitors more reasons to engage with the arts and with everything else that downtown offers.

Our vision is to produce profound benefits for the arts community, for downtown and for Edmonton as a whole. What do you think?

World Class Cities Have Flourishing Arts Sectors

Posted on June 24, 2014

Edmonton needs a flourishing arts sector to be considered a world-class city, and the Edmonton Galleria Project will help move us towards that status. The focal point is four state-of-the-art performing arts theatres. The Edmonton Galleria Project will also integrate a University of Alberta campus into a vibrant downtown and growing arts community.

The Edmonton Galleria Project will be a cultural hub, complementing the existing arts facilities downtown. Our arts community is growing quickly and needs more infrastructure to thrive. Demand continues to grow for affordable, accessible and suitable rehearsal and performing arts spaces (for more info, read this report). The Edmonton Galleria Project will meet this demand, and showcase many art forms, allowing for innovative collaborations and interactions for students, and emerging and accomplished artists.

In addition to the existing and future need for more arts spaces, many other factors make this project worthwhile to pursue right now. Firstly, it is an opportune time to build, as interest rates are low. Secondly, the University of Alberta wants to have a major presence downtown and sees great synergies for its School of Music and the Department of Art and Design. The existing facilities for these faculties are in dire need of replacement. Read Carl Amrhein’s, the University of Alberta’s Provost and Vice-President (Academic), views on the need.

Lastly, City Council’s Capital City Downtown Plan calls for a revitalization and increased downtown density. The Edmonton Galleria Project addresses both of these objectives. It will be a major contributor to downtown’s arts community and it will draw thousands more people downtown as workers, students, residents and visitors.

Not only will the Edmonton Galleria Project boost Edmonton’s arts sector, but it will add downtown vibrancy. Edmontonians will have more reasons to come downtown. As Avenue Magazine’s Steven Sandor noted in a 2013 article: “With plenty of space for restaurants, cafés and shops, the vision is to make the Centre a legitimate arts district, to keep people downtown before and after the shows.

“The project is budgeted to be self-sufficient. While the aim is to offer affordable performance and rehearsal spaces to larger groups like the Edmonton Opera and Alberta Ballet, it is also designed to give smaller theatre, dance and music companies the space they need to flourish.”

How will you engage with the Edmonton Galleria Project? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter, Facebook or by email!