Search for cultural complex endorsed

Politicians have given a partial blessing to efforts for a cultural anchor.

Politicians have given a partial blessing to efforts for a cultural anchor.

On Thursday, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee agreed to support the search for a suitable location for a new museum and art gallery.

“It’s encouraging that all jurisdictions are unanimous in working together to support the gallery and museum,” said Wayne Lippert, GVAC chairperson.

Both the Greater Vernon Museum and the Vernon Public Art Gallery have been seeking new facilities for years because the current buildings are too small and don’t meet climate and light control requirements.

But while GVAC backs pursuing a site for a complex, no official commitment has been made towards helping purchase the land, capital costs or operating costs.

“We want to provide a better location but it’s a matter of getting all of the information and presenting it to the public,” said director Doug Dirk.

Lippert won’t speculate on whether a borrowing referendum would be needed for a complex and says all funding sources are being considered.

“There’s still a long ways to go in the process,” he said.

GVAC’s actions are garnering praise.

“It’s refreshing and welcoming to hear people are supporting arts and culture,” said Ron Candy, Greater Vernon Museum curator.

Finding a suitable site is critical to coming up with costs and a building design.

“If we have a location, we ca create a vision for the community,” said Dauna Grant, Vernon Public  Art Gallery executive director.

“We are working with the museum to determine what their needs are.”

The goal is to have a new facility in place by 2015 when the gallery hosts the Okanagan Print Triennial.

“We are pushing forward,” said Grant.

Candy is confident a combined museum and art gallery can benefit the community’s economy.

“It will become a destination site for visitors. We will be able to put on exhibits we couldn’t pull together before,” he said.

Candy also says that cultural amenities help draw new residents and investors to a community, and meet the desire of residents to be creative.

“A facility could have a bigger impact on our educational programming,” he said.

“Culture is a huge part of our community. It’s like air and water — we need it.”