Statement by JS Ryu, President and CEO, regarding the future of the Scouts Building     

Today, the National accessArts Centre, unveiled a new video, titled The NaAC is Calgary, with the hopes of sharing with Calgarians – and, in particular, members of Calgary’s City Council – that our organization is an essential part of our city’s arts and culture sector. In fact, we are the only organization of our kind across Canada, making Calgary the most accessible arts city in the country.

At the end of October, we understand that members of Calgary’s City Council will be reviewing a confidential report put forward by City Administration that will address the future of the Scouts Building, located at 2140 Brownsea Drive NW.

In 2020, the City and the NaAC both agreed that this building would be the new home of our organization’s visual arts studios and administrative spaces, following several years of uncertainly due to the collapse of the Fairview Arena in 2018 that greatly impacted our current facility – now slated for demolition. Though a heritage designation of the Scouts Building almost derailed the aspirations of the project in 2022, City Administration proposed a new design solution that would reorient the main entrance to the east side of the facility through an expanded, at-grade entrance for universal access, while concealing the protected concrete staircase. The NaAC agreed to this proposed alternative.

The confidential report presented to Council will, we believe, contain an additional funding request (beyond the originally budgeted $2.5 million in 2020) that will not only address the escalating cost of construction, but also fully fund the City-proposed design solution that respects the heritage status of the Scouts Building, and supports the ambitions of the NaAC and City Administration to develop what will be a class-leading, accessible arts facility in the heart of our city. The Community Development Committee, and soon after, all members of Council, will have the opportunity to finally open a path forward to a new home for the NaAC and our growing community of 350+ active artists – and to reaffirm its commitment to creating an accessible, inclusive city for all.

The NaAC is Calgary. Through its programs, it is demonstrating to the country – and the rest of the world – that individuals with disabilities can create extraordinary works of visual art, music, dance, literary art, film, and theatre. Through its international work, it has become Calgary’s most globally active arts organization, showcasing our artists or there works in more than 12 regions, in seven countries, and on three continents in just the five years. And we are just getting started.

I ask members of Council to take the time to learn more about the NaAC, get excited about the work we are doing to elevate Calgary on the global stage, and how we are shaking up Canada’s arts and culture scene. And then, it is my hope that, when it comes time to making a decision to fully fund the revitalization of the Scouts Building, they will see this as a major “win” for Calgarians living with disabilities, their families, and for the city as a whole.

For more information, please contact:

JS Ryu, President and CEO
National accessArts Centre


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