Yellowknife Artist Co-operative opens arts center in iconic Wildcat café

·2 min read
From left to right: Roland Laufer, Sophie Grogono and Matthew Grogono.   (Submitted by Matthew Grogono - image credit)
From left to right: Roland Laufer, Sophie Grogono and Matthew Grogono. (Submitted by Matthew Grogono - image credit)

The Yellowknife Artists Co-operative (YAC) has dreamed of a place where artists can gather, collaborate and showcase their creativity for the past 25 years. But, until now, they didn't have a space for it to become a reality.

The YAC is celebrating the soft opening of its temporary home in the iconic Wildcafe Café this weekend. They're partnering with Ecology North to open a gallery during Old Town's 15th Ramble and Ride.

Sofia Grogono, the co-operative's art coordinator, said it'll be more than just a gallery though — playing host to a wide range of activities, workshops, events and jam sessions after the opening.

Randall McKenzie/CBC
Randall McKenzie/CBC

For example, on Friday nights, sculptors, painters, dancers, musicians "and you name it" can gather and exchange ideas across a variety of mediums and styles.

The space is meant to include all skill levels, so people can learn new forms of art or develop the ones they already know. It's also community-led.

"Our values are really based on community connection ... and that really underscores everything that we're working on," said Grogono. "It's a call for people to step forward."

Mathew Grogono, president of the YAC, said they're fortunate the Wildcat was available when it was.

It was up for tender for the third time when he said he called the City of Yellowknife and submitted a proposal, which was approved just last week.


It's the second summer in a row that a restaurant hasn't opened in the Wildcat Cafe.

The YAC is still looking for a permanent home, because they'll have to leave the space in August or September. Despite the temporary nature of the arrangement, the co-operative sees it as an opportunity to spark community interest and secure a permanent location.

"We need to catalyze the arts community and get it to crystallize into a more cohesive working entity," said Mathew Grogono.

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