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Allied Arts establishes new Main Street home

Executive director Caitlin Johnston, Bart Tolsma, Abigail Tolsma and Cobus Oudhof in Council's new studio.

The Allied Arts Council of Fort Macleod has a new home.
Allied Arts will use the former Sears catalogue sales store at 232 24th St. for its studio.
“It’s like our dream place,” Allied Arts executive director Carmen Drapeau said.
Fort Macleod Municipal Planning Commission on July 11 approved a development application to convert the 2,100 sq. ft. main floor into a public educational facility for art classes.
Drapeau said Friday that Allied Arts had exhausted every possibility for a permanent location.
“We’ve seriously been looking for almost a year,” Drapeau said. “We looked at several other places. Some were not ready to be used because their owners were still working on them and some were not as big as this.”
The phone call from building owner Gary Temoin came as a surprise to Allied Arts.
Allied Arts had not considered the space in the McNeil-Mathews Block because it was occupied by the Sears catalogue outlet.
When Sears moved further west on Main Street into Floral Designs, the space became available to Allied Arts.
“It’s a great space,” Drapeau said.
Allied Arts has been using the Scout Hall for its classes, workshops and drop-in studio.
“It’s been awesome to use the Scout Hall,” Drapeau said.
Allied Arts desired to establish a permanent, more high profile location to better promote its many programs, and the arts in general.
“It’s huge,” Drapeau said of the importance of the Main Street location. “The main thing, I think, is that people will know where we are.”
Allied Arts had investigated town council’s offer to use one of the buildings at the 1884 North West Mounted Police Barracks provincial historic site, but found it too remote.
The former Sears location is high-profile and convenient.
“Being here allows us to be more involved in the community,” Drapeau added.
Allied Arts will run all its classes and workshops, along with its summer day programs for children, in the front of the building.
The back of the building will be reserved for pottery, with four wheels and two kilns and room for storage.
No renovations are planned.
“We want to keep it open so it can be multi-purpose,” Drapeau said.
Allied Arts is also renting half the basement for storage.
The application to the MPC was to use the building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, with a maximum of 20 students and one instructor at a time.
Allied Arts will not sell any art from its new location.
Although the MPC only gave its formal approval on July 11, Allied Arts has been renting the building since the beginning of July to run its children’s art classes.
Drapeau said that’s only the start.
“This building is going to help us because now we have a physical space where people can find us — and they are already,” Drapeau said. “It’s going to improve our programming and allow us to expand.”

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Linda Bruce Says:

    Congratulations to Ft. MacLeod Allied Arts Council on acquiring your new space. This will be such an important step for your group as it grows and develops. The business community and the citizens of Ft. Macleod will truly be the beneficiaries of this opportunity. Perhaps the City of Airdrie will be so lucky when Creative Airdrie finds the same opportunity for our community.