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$75 million naming gift from Dave Werklund and family to arts-focused infrastructure project
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$75 million naming gift from Dave Werklund and family to arts-focused infrastructure project

Marking a major milestone for Arts Commons Transformation (ACT) and Olympic Plaza Transformation (OPT), the largest arts-focused infrastructure project currently underway in Canada, Arts Commons—Western Canada’s largest performing arts centre located in the heart of downtown Calgary—is humbled to announce a transformational gift of $75 million from Calgarians Dave Werklund and family to support ACT and OPT, bringing project funding to $498.5 million of its $660 million goal.

Driven by Dave Werklund’s personal values of accessible education, community care, and environmental sustainability, this private support, in combination with secured funding from provincial and municipal governments, will ensure a truly transformational shift in the role of a modern arts centre in Canada—one that blends arts, education, social enterprise, and greater civic dialogue.

With immense gratitude, Arts Commons will invest the $75 million gift towards construction costs, create the Dave Werklund Education Wing, as well as establish four funds to support the sustainability of the following institutional priorities: education, accessibility, operations, and an ongoing endowment to rename Arts Commons as Werklund Centre in perpetuity, starting in the 2025-26 season.

“Principle-centered leadership is at the core of everything I do, in business and in my personal life. Integrity, building trust and being a force for positive change is at the core of who I am. Those are the values that my family aspires to and that inspired us to make this contribution. Family, yours and mine, are the heart of every community. It is my sincere hope that Werklund Centre will be run with these principles in mind and through its innovative programs be a force for positive change, bringing families across all sectors of our communities together,” says Dave Werklund.

“I first met Dave through his support of our of education programs and was quickly blown away by his unflappable values, his incredible integrity, and his fierce commitment to building strong and resilient communities by supporting families and the development of young people,” says Arts Commons President & CEO Alex Sarian.

“Today’s announcement aligns strongly with Dave’s and my belief that the world-class opportunities and experiences created at Werklund Centre be relevant, accessible, and impactful to all who are lucky enough to call Calgary and Alberta home.”

Arts Commons is the steward of Western Canada’s largest arts centre, and the artistic and civic cornerstone of Calgary’s downtown core. For nearly 40 years, it has been a key contributor to the social, economic, cultural, and intellectual life and well-being of Calgarians.

It is home to six resident companies, including Alberta Theatre Projects, Arts Commons Presents, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Downstage, Theatre Calgary, and One Yellow Rabbit. It houses six gallery spaces, five theatres, and the Jack Singer Concert Hall.

Its four sub-brands – Arts Commons Presents, Arts Commons Galleries, Arts Commons Education, and Arts Commons Connects – promote local, national, international, emerging and established artists with a focus on championing inclusion and reconciliation, ensuring the arts’ rightful place at the center of civic life.

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