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7
09-11-2006, 02:00 PM
Aboriginal culture is a vastly untapped market. We are starting to realize this at an economic level as we go through a labor shortage. Where we havenít realized this is in the form of identity and tourism. People want to see culture. Take the Calgary Stampede for instance. It is cowboy culture hyped to the max. There are thousands of people around the world who come to Calgary to see this every year. Cowboys are not unique to Calgary, but they are unique as cultural icons in pockets around the world. Calgary has tapped this, and has marketed itself as the cowboy capital. You may or may not like the stampede, but there is no arguing the international recognition that it has brought our sister to the south. This is what people around the world are searching for. Something that is linked to a region and that offers a unique experience. Iím not suggesting aboriginal days, but we have the 2nd largest aboriginal population in Canada. The writing is on the wall that the aboriginal community will start to play a larger role in the economy and in the community, and rightfully so.

What I suggest is a museum of contemporary aboriginal art. The focus of which would be (from strongest to weakest)
Plains Indians, other Canadian indigenous populations (West coast, Inuit, etcÖ), indigenous populations from North America, indigenous populations from around the world.

Contemporary aboriginal art around the world is growing in popularity. If you take Australia for example, 20-30 years ago aboriginal art was to be found only in history museums, and the artists were not selling to the art market. That has drastically changed. The aboriginal contemporary art market outpaces the regular art market in Australia with many pieces being sold for 100ís of thousands of dollars. That was not the case so long ago. The southwest area of the USA is an area that has been developing this identity as well.

In order for this to work in Edmonton it has to be done extremely well and on a significant scale. Of course if we had billions of dollars of surplus we could use this money ( oh wait a minuteÖ), but thatís not the way to go. I suggest building a casino to fund the collection. The Casino would be owned and operated by a collection of indigenous groups in the Edmonton area. They may be able to do a deal with the provincial government to have more of the casino revenue go directly towards the collection, and perhaps also a deal with the city regarding land for the museum portion. The complex would ideally also house a learning centre for aboriginal youths to teach them the art and business techniques that could make them successful in the art market. The collection would be a formidable long-term investment for its owners not only economically (more and more people around the world are turning to art as a part of their well balanced financial portfolio) but socially for Edmonton area indigenous groups. They would have a world-class venue to showcase their contemporary culture. It should offer programs that stimulate the indigenous population to continue to develop and to showcase its artistic accomplishments. It would become another reason (along with RAM, etcÖ) for many Europeans who are interested in Native American Indian art and culture (and there is a lot of interest in Europe) to visit Edmonton.

It would be located ideally in the Jasper East area, as that area already has a large population of indigenous Albertans and could offer employment to some of these people. It would be within walking distance to the Convention center as well as the entire downtown arts district.
Iíve read the debate of downtown casinos and donít altogether disagree with many of the points made, but many of the complaints are about ugly buildings and that they are offering nothing to the city or itís residents. I think this idea could address all of those issues. I am a new member here, but have been reading the posts here since C2E started. I have enjoyed the debates and especially ones that have offered constructive feedback (good and bad) and I look forward to hearing from some of you.

grish
09-11-2006, 02:51 PM
I agree with everything except, perhaps, the location. Although Jasper East is becoming a place for museums, the land in front of rosdale plant is the site for some aboriginal burrial grounds. it is also very prominent part of the city. I would love to see something like that in that location. The only problem as I see is it is public transit.

7
09-11-2006, 03:02 PM
I agree public transit is exactly the problem there. I was thinking that it would probably attract the conference crowd, many of whom I would suspect, dont rent cars if the conference is downtown. Easy walking distance to Jasper East. Have a couple of hours to kill, aboriginal art and casino. Otherwise you're right, the burial grounds, great location with great exposure.

McBoo
09-11-2006, 03:44 PM
Wonderful idea, though I would urge you to also consider Rossdale as a site.

With discovery of the Aboriginal burial site, and the plant due to be de-commissioned, Rossdale could become a fabulous site: close to downtown, viewable from either bank and astride the North Saskatchewan.

Obviously the plant is big enough for more than a gallery - it could also be a museum.

Just a thought.

grish
09-11-2006, 03:54 PM
I think the plant itself is to be come a water research facility in conjunction with the UofA. I don't know if it is still the case, but that was talked about.
Still, there is enough space there to accomodate new museum near the plant if not in it.
but, again, no objection to building the museum.

ridgeman
09-11-2006, 08:25 PM
I have been monitoring this site for a few weeks now and have decided to join in on some of the discussions. There are some excellent ideas being presented here and I hope that someone in the City planning department or council is reading them. As to the suggestion for a museam of aboriginal art, I agree that it is definately worth further study. I would support the Rossdale site as it already contains an aboriginal burial site and was obviously a significant location to the aboriginal people well before anyone else lived in the city of edmonton. Wow, what a major tourist attraction it could become if done right.

m0nkyman
09-11-2006, 08:37 PM
A Native art museum would definitely be worthwhile. I don't like the idea of attaching a casino to it though. I wouldn't expect any other type of museum to be attached to a casino, and there is also the possible perception of racism when pairing a casino with native anything...

My 2Ę.

grish
09-11-2006, 08:38 PM
very true... a museum, a cultural centre, an interpretive centre, a library dedicated to the history of the first nations, a theatre, maybe even attach a school i.e. move Amiskawichi (sp?) to a site nearby. but definitely not a casino.

7
09-11-2006, 09:25 PM
To tell you the truth, I dont like the idea of a casino all that much either, but if somebody knows of another idea of how it may be funded, I would love to hear them. I dont see the city putting up that kind of money, nor the province or any aboriginal group. It would be great to be proved wrong though. To do this properly will take some serious money and casinos have serious money. Some aboriginal groups have experience in running casinos and they would be using this as a great way of promoting their culture. (as well as an excellent long term investment)
As for the possibility of racism, this would be built and run by indigenous groups, so I dont see the problem so much. As for the site, Rossdale was my original #1, but as grish mentioned, public transport. If it was to be in Rossdale, a stand alone building would be ideal and leave the power plant to the water research project.

RichardS
09-11-2006, 11:24 PM
A Native Canadian museum attached to a casino??? Think about that one....not a good idea. That is a bad stereotype.

As for the transit option - enter the oft-discussed tramway.

7
10-11-2006, 07:38 AM
So scrap the casino. I have no problem with that. I strongly believe that the idea of a indigenous contemporary art museum is a good one, and one that would greatly benefit Edmonton and it's indigenous populations. I am a proud supporter of indigenous arts and crafts and believe in a strong indeginous population as I'm sure all of you do. I also believe that the arts are, and will continue to be, one of the leading ways that the indigenous community earns the respect that they deserve.
My mention of the casino was only meant to answer the fundamental question that we should all be asking ourselves as we post these ideas, WHERE WILL THE FUNDING COME FROM????????[/b]

mick
10-11-2006, 08:43 AM
Where does the funding come from for the other museums around the city? RAM - provincial gov all the way. EAG - mix of stable level of gov't grants augmented by occasional private donations and whatever it pulls in from its fees etc (not totally sure on the funding structure for the EAG, but from the bits of info I do have seems likely). Ukranian heritage - not sure but I guarantee there are gov't grants involved here somewhere.

7
10-11-2006, 10:48 AM
The costs associate with a museum like this one would be upwards of $65million. The building itself would have to be something architecturally outstanding (like the new AGA which will cost $50million) and so we could expect the price tag to be similar. Although aboriginal contemporary art is still relatively inexpensive it may cost $15million for a very good collection, and it would have to be at the very least a very good collection for it to be internationally significant. The province donated $15million for the AGA, with the rest coming from the feds and private members. With the conservatives cutting museum funding and with the province having just donated $15million to the AGA, that would leave alot of money to be raised by private partners and the city. Hence trying to be creative in the funding of this or any other projects. I would love some suggestions that dont involve a Casino! and thanks for everybodies feedback thus far.

RichardS
10-11-2006, 12:45 PM
So scrap the casino. I have no problem with that. I strongly believe that the idea of a indigenous contemporary art museum is a good one, and one that would greatly benefit Edmonton and it's indigenous populations.

Here we wholeheartedly agree....
As for funding, the traditional avenues are community support, government grants, and admissions...with a nice dose of philanthropy.

How about some of the bands in the area helping out. Here is where a casino at the River Cree could help out in the background.

Fell
10-11-2006, 01:43 PM
This is one of the first Ideas I've seen brought up that has true potential, imho.

If handled properly, a gallery and museum could be harnessed to really explore traditional and contemporary aboriginal culture.

A properly designed and executed gallery would draw more attention from the U.S. and Europe than it would even here. Recently, a small (11cm) Inuit statue by an unknown artist was sold (http://www.cbc.ca/arts/artdesign/story/2006/11/08/inuit-art.html) in Toronto for $69,000 ó the largest sum ever paid for a piece of its kind.

In order for Edmonton to achieve a more cosmopolitan regard of self, we need to take a serious look at the arts and supporting them properly. Supporting First Nations and Inuit artists in a major way would be a landmark for Canada, and the world.

Additionally, Europeans just love the stuff.

PS ó Whoever suggested an attached casino should be smacked.

amanzano
10-11-2006, 02:47 PM
I'm sorry, I'm not an expert and do not know much about aboriginal art, but I love the idea. in fact, what I love about the idea is one of your earlier suggestions about incorporating with the indigenous peoples around the world. Having art from Australia, Africa, Asia, South and central America would be an incredible collection to have and would even make Edmonton a center for Aboriginal affairs international. Best part is that we can always tie it together with AGA AND also with the gallery walk on 124st. Rossdale all the way!

BTW, didn't we just host some Indigenous People's conference this year (or am I just imagining things again )? :wink:

Sonic Death Monkey
10-11-2006, 05:51 PM
Where does the funding come from for the other museums around the city? RAM - provincial gov all the way. EAG - mix of stable level of gov't grants augmented by occasional private donations and whatever it pulls in from its fees etc (not totally sure on the funding structure for the EAG, but from the bits of info I do have seems likely). Ukranian heritage - not sure but I guarantee there are gov't grants involved here somewhere.

I don't think a casino attached to the museum would be needed per se. But if the Enochs make enough money from the River Cree Casino then they could definitely donate funds to the museum. Ditto for other tribes who are making money from golf courses and resource royalties (oil, gas, forestry, etc), and have formed their own companies. Of course, using those revenues to look after their people should be priority #1. But with any windfalls these tribes are due to make, donations from them should be no problem.

As for other funding sources, the municipal, provincial and federal governments could chip in along with private donations. That's how the Art Gallery of Alberta is being funded.

Another source could be corporate sponsorship. If the museum was built on the Rossdale site as others have suggested (along with the water research centre plus cafes, retail and Edmonton Queen boat launch to help attract tourists and residents alike), then it wouldn't be a stretch for EPCOR to help sponsor it. Any objections to the "EPCOR Aboriginal History Museum of Canada" or something like that? Otherwise, there's also Syncrude, PCL, Dell, Intuit, The Brick, Telus and other high-profile and philanthropic corporations.

dazzer
10-11-2006, 07:14 PM
I really like the idea of an Aboriginal Art Museum. I dont mind putting it next to Rossdale. You could probably have a shuttle bus from downtown during operating hours. However, it doesnt make sense for one museum. I enjoy the John J. Nature Centre, but from what I have seen, it is really small. Kids from school would go from a new expanded nature centre to your aboriginal museum if they were next door to each other. I have no idea if there is enough room for both, but I intuitively like the idea of clustering buildings, so it cheaper to construct both and they can feed each other. We really need an environmental - nature museum to raise awareness of both issues and it would fit well with an aboriginal museum for obvious reasons.

grish
10-11-2006, 07:22 PM
very true... a museum, a cultural centre, an interpretive centre, a library dedicated to the history of the first nations, a theatre, maybe even attach a school i.e. move Amiskawichi (sp?) to a site nearby...

yes, pile things in there and make the whole area come to life. that together with new and improved Leg grounds, near Kinsman and better transit connection to downtown and the rest of edmonton would be great.

7
10-11-2006, 09:33 PM
PS ó Whoever suggested an attached casino should be smacked
I'll take full responsibility for the good and the bad in this idea, and I promise to give myself a good smack. But as a poor defense, I was only trying to find a creative way to fund the museum/gallery portion of it. :oops:
I would much rather see it happen without the casino, but in the end, I just really want to see it happen. After reading some of the posts I think that the people on this site are creative enough to continue coming up with ideas that will make the casino portion of it unnecessary.

DanC
10-11-2006, 09:40 PM
No biggie, this is what its all about, bouncing ideas around and getting feedback...throw it out there and see what happens.

Good Lord in heaven is Rossdale ever PRIME for a massive redevelopment! CAN I GET AN AMEN BROTHERS AND SISTERS?

m0nkyman
10-11-2006, 10:14 PM
Let's see. Massive redevelopment needed in Rossdale, East Jasper, the old rail lands, and the soon-to-be-transitioned-into-a-raceway Muni....

And the only real development actually happening is Century Park.

Have I mentioned that I find Edmonton weird....

Fell
11-11-2006, 01:17 PM
Let's see. Massive redevelopment needed in Rossdale, East Jasper, the old rail lands, and the soon-to-be-transitioned-into-a-raceway Muni....

And the only real development actually happening is Century Park.

Have I mentioned that I find Edmonton weird....

I'll give an Amen to that. And to DanC.

Sorry, 7. Good to bounce ideas around, I am just vocally harsh. :lol:

RichardS
11-11-2006, 01:52 PM
No prob 7. Ideas are meant to be discussed and sometimes there are opinions that are just harsh - guilty as charged. However, I still go out for beers with some of my harshest critics, who are still friends...

CW
13-11-2006, 01:22 PM
As everyone has said this is a great idea. If I can add on: I read in the Journal a few months back that the Provincial museum just shelled out a crapload of money for artifacts that were put on auction from the estate of a British duke. I'd have to find the article, but I recall a reference to the Museum stating that they felt it wouldnow have the best collection of Canadian Aboriginal art in Canada.

So, we get back to one of my themes: so many ideas in Edmonton, but all of the groups fractured.

How do you develop a world class Aboriginal museum when the Provincial museum is already focused on this?

7
13-11-2006, 02:04 PM
The Provincial Museum is focused on the history of the indigenous populations of Alberta. The articles that they bought several months ago were certainly fantastic pieces that cement the museum as a world class facility.
The idea I proposed here originally was an indigenous contemporary art gallery. This would focus on art that has been created in the last several decades. Not historical items. Painters such as Alex Janvier, Norval Morrisseau, Daphne Odjig, the inuit sculptures, etc... The historical study of the aboriginal populations and their art in Canada is the subject to several excellent museums in Canada, the RAM being one of them. Contemporary aboriginal art has yet to see this exposure. Europeans and I would imagine many other cultures want to see this stuff. Norval Morrisseau arguably Canada's best known aboriginal painter has been selling very well in Europe for quite some time. It is really just starting to take off here in Canada and it wont be long before a museum somewhere establishes themselves as THE place to see these artists. That is not to say that there are not galleries and other museums who dont have collections of this art, it just hasent been put together in one stand alone collection. I think Edmonton is well positioned to take advantage of this.

teddyt
15-11-2006, 03:45 PM
YES!!!! PERFECT!!! And the building could be designed by Frank Gehry!

DanC
15-11-2006, 03:54 PM
I have to go with no Gehry, he has his time in the sun, I want some new up and comers.