The Indefinite Arts Centre - Canada's oldest and largest disability arts organization - is changing its name and postal code, but not its goal to become the national capital for disability arts.
National access Arts Centre (NaAC) will be the new name for Indefinite Arts Centre, which recently merged with mixed ability dance company Momo Movement and Artistic Expressions, which provides art programs for adults with physical disabilities and/or brain injuries.
The current location is in Fairview, next to the Fairview Arena that had a roof collapse in 2018. The city has recently informed NaAC that the building will be demolished.
“They made that decision a few months ago and we entered into conversations and negotiations around finding a new space,” said Jung-Suk Ryu, CEO National accessArts Centre.
The potential new location is the Scouts Building along Memorial Drive. The space is about the same size as the old location, however there are some accessibility issues that need to be worked out before the organization, which provides a support network for artists with disabilities.
“Physical accessibility is going to be a huge factor with this building not having being touched since the 60’s," said Ryu. "There are existing challenges where I could say that more than half of our artists wouldn’t be able to go up the ramp and go through the front door,” he added.
Ryu had been lobbying the province for funding to enable it to build a new space designed by award-winning local architectural film DIALOG, which would include a dance studio for Momo Movement, in addition to digital media studios and a black box theatre, a cafe and gallery - all for under $20 million.
However, NaAC is hoping to make the new building work for their artists.
"We love the location," Ryu said. "It's far more central, there is easy access to transit, the proximity to the river opens up a whole new world of opportunity for our artists and so this seems like a real winner for us."
300 artists use the facility.
"Over the past few years, we've demonstrated what is possible when we provide world-class platforms for artists living with disabilities," Ryu said, in a release issued Monday. "Whether it's our increasing emphasis on connecting our artists with income generating opportunities through their creativity, or presenting their works to overseas markets and shining a light on art and accessibility in Canada, we have a remarkable legacy to build upon."