City supports relocation of art gallery | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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City supports relocation of art gallery

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December 11, 2012 - 5:15 PM

The art gallery and museum will both get bigger, but only one will move, according to the city's proposal for a new cultural center.

There has been talk of a new facility for the art gallery since 2005, and despite several proposals, none have ever been put into action. Options for the museum have also been explored to no avail. Past proposals have suggested the two facilities move in together under one roof, but that concept has proved too costly.

At a closed door meeting yesterday, council voted unanimously to support the location for a new art gallery on the former flower shop site across from Cenotaph Park on 31st Avenue, and to support expansion of the museum at its present location.

"We're very happy with the site," Dauna Kennedy Grant, Executive Director at the Vernon Public Art Gallery, says.

"We would have been fine either way," Grant says of sharing space with the museum. "We've always been working together on this (with the museum), looking at land and keeping taxpayers in mind."

Grant says the new space will offer locals a much enhanced gallery experience, and also boost tourism.

"It's really going to open up the type of art we show, (as well as) programming opportunities."

Grant says the current gallery location has no classroom space, which puts a limit on the types of programs they can provide. The new location will also allow art to go beyond the gallery walls and find a place outside in nearby Cenotaph Park.

Another revenue source that comes with the new building is the ability to host events, such as weddings, Grant explains. 

In a press release today, the city said, "The relocation of the art gallery and expansion of the museum support the development of a Cultural Centre in the heart of downtown."

Council's resolution for the art gallery site is in effect until Dec. 31, 2015.

"This is to provide time for the art gallery to confirm funding for the new facility."

Both the art gallery and museum have expressed they want a referendum in the new year for the facility upgrades, but the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has yet to give them the go ahead. GVAC recently confirmed an April referendum for a new sports complex next to Okanagan College, which may ask as much as $8.5 million.

"I'm sorry it's taken so long to get where we are, but I'm glad we can now take it out to the community," Grant says.

—Charlotte Helston

News from © iNFOnews, 2012

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