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Old planetarium to become art gallery

By Jason Herring, November 6 2014 

Local art organization Contemporary Calgary is working on creating a new public art gallery in the Calgary Centennial Planetarium.

The planetarium, in the west end of downtown, has been vacant since the Telus World of Science moved in June 2011.

Built in 1967 by Calgary architect Jack Long, the concrete building is a prime example of brutalist architecture which was popularized in the 1960s.

The location will make modern and contemporary art more accessible to the public, says Contemporary Calgary marketing chair Rob Mabee.

“We’ve always had a good market and a good visibility for contemporary art [in Calgary], but this just kind of bumps it up a notch and brings it to a really specific landmark,” Mabee says. “It becomes and provides yet another cool place to go on a weekend for a whole generation of Calgarians that are going to art college or university.”

Contemporary Calgary was formed last year when Calgary’s three leading contemporary arts organizations — the Art Gallery of Calgary, the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Art and Museum of Contemporary Art Calgary — merged. Since then, Contemporary Calgary has operated out of the former Art Gallery of Calgary on Stephen Avenue.

Contemporary Calgary hosted their first fundraiser, LOOK2014, on Nov. 1 to raise money for the re-development of the planetarium and to create interest in the project.

The gallery is slated to open in 2015, but specific details have yet to be determined.

“There’s a whole capital campaign that will see the whole redevelopment of the space for a number of years,” Mabee says. “But by some form we’ll be there by April of 2015.”

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