As the numbers show, the community shares this belief as over 400,000 people paid a visit to the Saskatoon art gallery in its first year.
Even though their second-year numbers are set to hit projections, the gallery’s newly installed brain trust knew that more was needed to build on the success of year one.
“The Joseph Alfred Remai Family Foundation came to us with an opportunity to fund school visits from children in kindergarten to Grade 12, free of charge,” McMaster said.
However, the changes didn’t end there and did expand beyond additional programming.
“We’ve (also) amplified one of our guiding principles around the discourse of Indigenous art here,” McMaster continued.
Modifications such as these, along with new additions to the gallery, including the Sonnabend Collection, displayed in Canada for the first time, have helped to keep up the buzz surrounding the Remai in its second year.
“Eyes are on this institution,” McMaster added. “But, it also means that eyes from the rest of the world are on this city. So, I think we play a part in showcasing that,” she concluded.
Although the gallery has enjoyed many successes during its two-year run, the highs haven’t come without any lows, which includes a major overhaul of personnel on the Remai’s board, earlier this past year.
“It would’ve seen growing pains no matter what,” McMaster explained. “When you come into a new building, just like when you move into a new house, you have to figure out what things work for you, and, what things don’t,” she surmised.
Despite the growing pains felt by the Remai and its staff, the gallery has played a large part in driving additional tourism dollars through the city.
“This is a $600-million annual tourist economy and the gallery is now contributing another $13.9-million every year to our economy,” Tourism Saskatoon president and CEO Todd Brant said.