Gallery draws criticism

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee will provide the Vernon Art Gallery with a $179,401 operating grant in 2015

A cultural group is being told to do more to help its bottom line.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee will provide the Vernon Art Gallery with a $179,401 operating grant in 2015, one per cent more than $177,625 last year. The gallery had sought a 3.5 per cent hike or $6,375 to create a new part-time staff position.

“Their request is a little too rich,” said director Mike Macnabb.

Macnabb also used Thursday’s GVAC meeting to insist VPAG start charging an admission fee instead of hoping people leave a donation when visiting the gallery.

“At $2 a pop, they could bring in $14,000 (based on 7,185 visitations),” he said.

“They are not doing anything to reduce the cost (to GVAC).”

Director Bob Fleming defended the cost of living hike of one per cent by saying VPAG’s grant has risen 71 per cent in seven years.

“They’ve been gaining,” he said.

VPAG officials state recent grant increases brought the operational budget to a sustainable level recommended by a GVAC consultant.

“This year’s 3.5 per cent request was to implement an additional part-time position which would enable VPAG to have the capacity to focus more on fund development options,” said Dauna Kennedy Grant, executive director.

“Charging a fee in our current location is a short-sighted solution.  A new facility and location will give us the flexibility to  look at alternate admission formulas, but until that goal is realized, GVAC must try and understand more clearly some of the challenges we face in operating out of our current space in the parkade.”

GVAC is providing a one per cent operating grant increase ($187,940) to the Greater Vernon Museum, but directors also decided to throw in an additional $4,000.

“I want to give them a bit of support for their programs. They are strapped,” said director Catherine Lord.

The museum had sought a total operating grant hike of $194,729 — $4,652 for a 2.5 per cent inflation increase and $4,000 for increased hours for part-time staff and a wage increase.

GVAC’s proposed 2015 budget calls for total expenditures of $6.48 million, down $23,484 from 2-14. This includes Kal Tire Place, the Performing Arts Centre, grants and recreation and culture.

“The budget was well done,” said vice-chairperson Jim Garlick, adding the reduced expenses are a result of restructuring the function among the jurisdictions.

“We’ve scaled it down somewhat and we’re dealing with local issues at the council tables now.”