EDITORIAL: GVAC can’t ignore culture

It’s hard to overlook the frustration in a letter the Vernon Public Art Gallery has written to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee

It’s hard to overlook the frustration in a letter the Vernon Public Art Gallery has written to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.

In the document, VPAG president Andrew Powell details the limitations of the current facility and the fact that, as a result of those conditions, a donation of $75,000 in art had to be turned down.

“This loss is a tragedy and is an embarrassment to our community,” he said.

VPAG is urging GVAC to expand the scope of a looming referendum on twinning Kal Tire Place and ask residents to borrow funds for a new gallery. The argument is that a combined vote will increase public participation and lead to a greater possibility of success.

“In our view, it would be short sighted and irresponsible not to at least consider holding a joint referendum,” said Powell.

The request will be before GVAC Thursday but regional district staff are recommending that no decision be made and the issue be considered as part of a workshop on cultural facilities.

Obviously our elected officials need to look at the broad picture and what the community will require long-term on the cultural front, particularly because tax dollars are finite.

However, we would hope that  GVAC’s review process doesn’t take too long as the needs of the art gallery and the Greater Vernon Museum have been known for years. The politicians can’t keep ignoring the unacceptable conditions that critical cultural agencies face on a daily basis.

Piggybacking on to the arena referendum may not make sense, but that doesn’t mean GVAC directors should sit on their hands.

Now is the time to make culture a priority.