YK Artists Co-operative bids on Wildcat Café heritage building

Wildcat Café building in Yellowknife may be turned into a new arts hub. ( Photo courtesy of YAK)

Artists in Yellowknife may have a new summer hot spot.

Matthew Grogono is the President of Yellowknife Artists Co-operative (YAC) and he’s excited to turn the Wildcat Café heritage building into a think tank for local artists.

This new hub will be a temporary meeting place for artists to collaborate and discuss future plans for the organization.

Earlier this week YAC sent its proposal to the City of Yellowknife to operate out of the building for the next three months.

After that time, YAC is planning a more permanent solution, based on the discussions gathered from artists.

He’s planning to provide artists in the city and online a wide range of culturally significant workshops.

“On the top of the list is Indigenous storytelling,” Grogono says.

“There’s a huge appetite for artistic activities at many different levels. And here in Old Town, organizations are fully booked,” he says.

So Grogono thought what better way than to fill that space with art – Indigenous art.

He realized there’s still a hunger for more social activates, especially since COVID-19 measures have been loosened across the territory and he’s prepared to fill that space.

Moosehide tanning, throat singing, and drumming are just some of the activities being looked at.

“We really have an opportunity to do something special here,” he says.

The team has been “working with (Indigenous leaders) to develop a meaningful way to engage  Indigenous communities with this project.”

He says to be successful, the organization has to be engaged with the Indigenous peoples – something he plans on doing throughout this process.

One day, Gorgono wants to open up similar art centres across the NWT.

The proposal deadline for the Wildcat Café closed on July 5 and the city is currently evaluating this bid.

Correction: A previous version of this article, stated that the Wildcat Café had already been secured when in fact the bid is still under review. CKLB regrets the correction. 

About the Author

Mariah Caruso
Mariah Caruso is a digital journalist, originally from Toronto, Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Hons. Bachelor of Arts and completed her Journalism post-grad at Sheridan College. She has an insatiable appetite for life, storytelling, connecting to the people, and getting to the heart of the issue. Mariah is excited to begin her journey and career in Yellowknife, NWT, and get involved with the community. If you have a story idea, feel free to send her an email at mariah.caruso@cklbradio.com