Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Art gallery wants to host big national exhibitions

The Nanaimo Art Gallery announced the start of a study to see if they can host national exhibitions in the coming future.
The gallery is undertaking a feasibility study to see if they can qualify for a Category 'A' designation.
If they do qualify, they would be only the second gallery on Vancouver Island to earn the designation, with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria the only other Island representative.
"It is vital to the cultural life and standing of the city of the city," said Camela Tang, president of the Centre for the Arts of Nanaimo. "We deserve it."
Becoming an 'A' institution would allow the gallery to have art pieces and exhibitions from the National Gallery of Canada.
"It would open up the possibilities of hosting traveling exhibitions," said Julie Bevan, the executive and artistic director of the gallery.
The designation is awarded by Heritage Canada, and the gallery has to meet several criteria before it can be considered.
Legal criteria, environmental levels for the paintings and the current collection and gallery size all play a role in meeting the standards set by Heritage Canada.
According to the Centre for the Arts for Nanaimo, the designation would be a step in developing the presence of art in Nanaimo.
"Everyone in the arts community has always wanted the gallery to be a Category 'A' exhibition space," said Tang. "The gallery has been with us for over 25 years and we haven't been able to get more space."
The gallery operates out of two locations, one at 150 Commercial St., the other at Vancouver Island University. The downtown building is owned by the city, and the parks, recreation and culture department help run it.
As part of the ownership, the building has to be used for the arts.
The department gave their formal approval at a meeting held last Wednesday.
"Culture is a high priority of the strategic plan by the city," said Richard Harding, director of the department speaking about the decision to support the study. Part of the long term goal of the gallery is to move out of their space at VIU and consolidate the art at their downtown location.
"This is Nanaimo's art district and there's advantage to staying down here," said Bevan.

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