National accessArts Centre secures $2.5m for new northwest Calgary location

Local disability arts group secures seed cash to begin work on a new northwest Calgary location.

Artist's rendition of the new NaAC site redevelopment. CONTRIBUTED

After three years and numerous setbacks, the National accessArts Centre (NaAC) is finally headed towards a new home.

In February 2020, the NaAC, formerly Indefinite Arts, failed to secure provincial cash for the redevelopment of their Fairview Arena location.

(The name change was the result of a merger between Indefinite Arts, Momo Movement and Artistic Expressions. They provide programming and space for more than 300 Calgary artists with disabilities.)

The year before, the City of Calgary said it wouldn’t be rebuilding the Fairview Arena after the 2018 roof collapse. That left several stakeholders with uncertain futures. The city now has plans to demolish the site.

New location identified

The group had then identified the old Scouts Canada building at 2140 Brownsea Drive NW as a suitable location. They would, however need $2.5 million to help cover the retrofit costs at that location.

Over the weekend, the group announced the City of Calgary’s investment in the location. The NaAC received the $2.5 million commitment.

“This is an exciting step forward for our organization,” said NaAC CEO Jung-Suk (JS) Ryu.

“For three years, we’ve faced tremendous challenges and uncertainty following the collapse of the adjoining arena, and this has had an impact on our community of more than 300 artists living with disabilities.

FULL NaAC site development plan. CONTRIBUTED

The $2.5 million will be used for building and interior upgrades as the first phases of redevelopment. They are still hopeful for further provincial and federal help to continue the full redevelopment.

Work will begin this spring and occupancy expected late 2021 or early 2022.

“Now, we are moving towards having a safe, fully accessible home for our organization,” said Ryu.  

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