February 27, 2017
Medalta, a Medicine Hat-based cultural not-for-profit, is investing $875,000 to redevelop a portion of a former brick factory and designated provincial historic resource. Once complete in June 2018, the former offices of Medicine Hat Brick and Tile will serve as artist housing.
Medalta’s Shaw International Centre for Contemporary Ceramics was established in 1999 as studio space for ceramic artists. Artists from around the world come to Medalta and live in Medicine Hat for up to one year while expanding their practice through the Shaw Centre’s artist residency programs.
“We wanted to have a safe and convenient place for artists to live while they are here for their residency,” says Aaron Nelson, executive director of Medalta. “Rent paid by the artists will be re-invested into Medalta’s programs.”
The artist lodge is a 10-minute walk along a scenic creek to the Shaw Centre, addressing Nelson’s vision for safety and convenience. The lodge will have 13 private bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms and communal space for cooking, eating and socializing.
It is expected the artist lodge will be 100% occupied from May to September by artists participating in Medalta’s summer artistic programming. Sixty percent occupancy is expected throughout the rest of the year. Nelson explains that rental revenue will be re-invested into Medalta’s programs, paving the way for sustainability and contributing to Medicine Hat’s intellectual capital.
Community and corporate donations are funding the project, with BMO contributing a $350,000 donation. Overall, the project is 80% funded.
“So far, Medalta has 20% of the fundraising goal remaining,” says Nelson. “Our target is to raise another $217,000.”
The artist lodge at Medicine Hat Brick and Tile is expected to open June 1, in time for Medalta’s summer artistic programming season. When completed, Medalta’s artist lodge will stand as a unique example of a not-for-profit undertaking real estate development in order to achieve sustainability.