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Media Release: June 23, 2022 

AKA / PAVED Arts announce new window gallery and updated accessibility renovations

Saskatoon, Canada — AKA and PAVED Arts are happy to announce major renovations in an effort to bring greater accessibility and visibility to our building. Throughout the pandemic, AKA and PAVED opened our building up to meet artist needs, experimenting with project forms and providing studio and gathering spaces. It is with gratitude to these artists and communities for their input into our activities and facility that we announce that we have been granted $100,750 from the Canadian Heritage Cultural Spaces Fund, City of Saskatoon Cultural Capital Grant, Affinity Credit Union, and Business / Arts arts mentoring program, ArtsVest. These funds will provide:

● A new store front window gallery that will expand artist project space while creating a friendlier street presence
● New lighting and sound treatment in the shared event space, creating a brighter, more functional space for community groups and artists to utilize. 
● Kitchen and bathroom accessibility renovations
● Rick Hansen Foundation Rating & Certification

In 2005, PAVED Arts and AKA Artist-Run jointly purchased and extensively renovated the former Toon’s Kitchen restaurant in the Riversdale neighborhood. The organizations’ galleries, event space, and PAVED’s production centre serve Saskatoon with free public projects and member services to local artists. Their 9000 sq/ft building is also home to BlackFlash magazine, and a multi-function event space used by numerous community and cultural organizations throughout the year. 

“Since I started at AKA we’ve discussed the possibility of opening up the front of the building, understanding the benefits it could have for both the organizations and the community. As our focus has been shifting towards community engagement, creating a more welcoming and visible space has been a priority and through the generous support of Heritage Canada it is now becoming a reality,” said Derek Sandbeck (AKA).

“The window gallery will not only rejuvenate the facade of our building but will also create a programming space for AKA and PAVED that will host multiple artist projects each year.” “Over the years, our shared event space has become a well-known, creative community gathering space and arts hub in Saskatoon. From board meetings to youth camps to sound art performances, the event space continues to shift and adapt to the creative needs of our community. This project allows us to continue to grow and build the space based on the needs of our community to have a safe and welcome place to create, present and celebrate art,” said Lenore Maier (PAVED Arts). 

“We are extremely grateful to our many funding partners who have recognized the hard work of PAVED Arts and AKA Artist-Run to establish an important cultural hub in Saskatoon,” said PAVED Executive Director Travis Cole. “By addressing accessibility issues that this building poses, and having our building updated to achieve a Rick Hansen Foundation Rating & Certification, our goal has always been to invest in a creative space that supports all artists.” 

The upgrades to the building will be completed by Fall 2022. 

Banner Image: Window Rendering (Billboard: Magic Eyes, Chris Morin, 2022.)


Canada Cultural Spaces Fund 
The Government of Canada’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund supports the improvement of physical conditions for artistic creativity and innovation through the improvement, renovation and construction of arts and heritage facilities, as well as the acquisition of specialized equipment. By supporting improvements to our country’s cultural spaces, the fund increases access for Canadians to performing arts, visual arts, media arts, museum collections and heritage displays. 

City of Saskatoon Cultural Capital Grant 
The purpose of the Culture Grant Program is to provide funding support to cultural organizations in Saskatoon in recognition of their role in providing cultural activities for Saskatoon residents and visitors, and the contribution they make to the quality of life and economic prosperity of the city. Affinity Credit Union 
Affinity Credit Union is a different kind of financial institution. A member-owned and democratically-operated co-operative, Affinity is firmly rooted in community, and committed to serving the needs of our members across Saskatchewan. 

ArtsVest / Business / Arts 
Business / Arts is a national charitable organization that shows the power of partnership between business and arts. Their national mentorship training program artsvest has created nearly 5,000 partnerships between business and arts organizations, raising over $21M in new private sector investment. Combined with matching funds, this has led to an overall impact is $29.25M to Canada’s cultural sector. Our arts & business exchange initiative is focused on cultivating and inspiring the next generation of business leaders to partnership with the arts. 

Rick Hansen Foundation Certification 
In Canada, almost 50% of adults have or have experienced a permanent or temporary physical disability or live with someone who has. Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationTM(RHFAC) is a national rating system that measures and certifies the level of meaningful access of buildings and sites. Getting an RHFAC rating allows better understanding of your physical accessibility, how you can improve, and can identify barriers for your community, customers, or employees. 

PAVED Arts is a non-profit, artist-run centre for production, presentation, research and dissemination of contemporary media arts. The word PAVED is an acronym signifying the integration of media art forms the organization serves: photographic, audio, video, electronic, digital. Through public programs and outreach as well as equipment and production support for members, PAVED Arts continues in the legacy of its predecessors The Photographer’s Gallery and Video Verité. 

AKA artist-run supports the creation and development of artist driven initiatives and emerging practices that speak to, reflect and encourage dialogue in our culturally diverse communities. This includes work in all media by local, national and international artists. Our venues consist of a street-level gallery, billboard and multi-use screening and performance event space; we also source off-site locations for site-specific projects. PAVED Arts and AKA are grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts, Saskatchewan Arts Board, SaskCulture and Sask Lotteries for their continuous support.  

For more information, please contact: 
Travis Cole, Executive Director, PAVED Arts

Derek Sandbeck, Gallery Coordinator, AKA artist-run