There’s absolutely no question that the Vernon Public Art Gallery requires new premises.
And truth be known, it’s the community that requires a larger facility to meet growing demand. Presently, there is limited space for education programs or visiting exhibits and the public’s art collection is in a less than ideal environment because of the lack of climate control and storage.
There is also the reality that a modern gallery can play a critical role in renewing downtown Vernon and bolstering the economy by providing the amenities tourists and new investors want.
However, gallery proponents could experience a challenge in garnering support from regional politicians and voters if a referendum is held April 6, 2013.
Yes, a possible $5 million price tag is a concern, but the primary stumbling block could be the gallery going it alone and not working in conjunction with the Greater Vernon Museum.
Both agencies have similar needs when it comes to climate control, storage and public program space. Not only could there be capital and operating savings if they came together, but they could create a cultural draw that would be the envy of the Interior.
It’s been stated that VPAG has been progressive in pulling plans together, while museum officials haven’t been as proactive when it comes to addressing their needs. However, this should be a case where both groups work shoulder-to-shoulder, even if it means one having to nudge the other one along.
The prospect of a successful referendum will increase if broad-based interests in the community are encouraged to vote. Taxpayers will also know that their limited financial resources are being invested efficiently.
In the end, the ultimate goal should be doing what is best for the community.
—The Morning Star