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Art gallery referendum pushed to 2015

The Vernon Art Gallery is currently located in the downtown parkade, where executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant says they don't have enough visibility.
January 18, 2014 - 10:29 AM


VERNON - The people won't have their say on a new arts facility until at least 2015, a big step back for those at the Vernon Public Art Gallery.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee voted Thursday to delay the referendum until a $100,000 arts and culture master plan is created and the proposed site and costs are once more reviewed.

“Overall, feelings are that we’re going in circles,” executive director for the gallery Dauna Kennedy Grant says. “We strongly feel the information is already there and it’s been brought forward on various occasions over the past 10-15 years.”

In September, the committee voted to move forward with a spring 2014 referendum. A few months later, they changed their minds after learning the estimated price tag for a new gallery and renovated museum had grown from $17 million to $35 million. At that time, it wasn’t clear how long the referendum would be delayed.

“We’re very surprised,” Kennedy Grant said of the delay to 2015. “Every time we make some progress it feels like we take all these steps backwards.”

The same day the gallery learned of the delay, it hosted an opening reception following a month-long flood-related closure.

“We were looking for some positive momentum going into 2014, this was not what we were hoping to hear,” Kennedy Grant says.

New committee chair Juliette Cunningham believes it doesn’t hurt to take some time to gather all the facts. She’d like to provide the opportunity for other community groups to get involved in the plan.

There have been a lot of questions around the need for a new gallery, the suitability of the proposed site, and the financial cost.

“We feel it’s time to bite the bullet and have a clear vision,” Cunningham says. “(If) you take a more global approach to addressing these issues we believe there’s a better chance of a successful referendum in 2015 with the arts and culture master plan.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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