Art association deals for control of Uqqurmiut centre


Nunatsiaq News

PANGNIRTUNG — Pangnirtung artists are set to take control of the world famous Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts.

The Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association expects to buy a majority interest in the centre, maybe by year end, Geoff Ryan, general manager said this week.

The association currently has a 49-per-cent stake in the centre. A 51-per-cent majority interest is owned by the Nunavut Development Corporation.

The Nunavut Development Corp. has said it wants the association to have majority ownership of the centre, Ryan said.

A controlling interest in the centre, will mean Pangnirtung’s artists will have more control over the arts and crafts centre and the direction it takes.

“Now decisions affecting the community will be made by the community,” Ryan said.

“If artists feel there’s some project worth their attention, they can make that decision here in Pangnirtung,” he said. That power will allow the association to pursue projects that benefit the community – not just the bottom line.

Prior to Nunavut, the Northwest Territories Development Corp. held a majority stake in the centre.

The change should also open up new business opportunities, Ryan said.

The new ownership structure gives the centre Inuit status under Article 24 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and an edge on future government contracts, Ryan said.

The Uqqurmiut Centre has diversified its operations to include sign making for businesses, government departments and associations.

“It’s a step that the business needs to take. I makes good sense to be registered under Article 24,” Ryan said.

The arts and crafts centre generates more than two-thirds of its budget from sales. The centre also receives money from the Nunavut Development Corp.

While the association hopes to have majority control by year end, the transfer of ownership still has to be negotiated.

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