Saskatoon’s Remai Modern Art Gallery has an opening date, after over a year’s worth of construction delays.
The facility will open its doors to the public Oct. 21, 2017, with a free exhibit on the main floor main floor and paid displays of international work on upper floors.
Staff and members of the public gathered in front of the gallery for the announcement Monday morning.
“It’s been a very long wait, and I can’t over-emphasize how excited we are,” CEO Gregory Burke said, thanking the public for their patience.
Burke and Mayor Charlie Clark expressed relief over having a clear opening date, given public pressure over the project.
“It’s something I’ve heard over and over,” Clark said. “We have to get this gallery open so we can get over some of this chatter.”
The opening weekend will debut the gallery’s free ground floor space, the “Connect Gallery.”
It will be featuring an Indigenous art project led by Ontario-based artists Tanya Lukin Linklater and Duane Linklater titled “Determined by the River.”
The exhibit will feature their work, along with pieces by local Indigenous artists.
Oct. 21 will also mark the unveiling of the gallery’s Picasso collection, which was donated by the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation in 2012.
While Monday’s focus was on the gallery’s opening date, questions remained over the final cost of the project.
Remai Modern was originally budgeted at $71 million, but the latest project update pegged the cost at $104 million.
In addition, there is a cost dispute between the city and contractor Ellis Don over an additional $2.5-4.5 million.
“We’ll get through it,” Clark said, noting he couldn’t provide a final number on project costs until the issue was resolved.
He added funding from donor’s helped secure the opening date, including a $1 million gift from Gord and Jill Rawlinson and Rawlco Radio.
The gift provides free access to the gallery for six days each year until 2022.