Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nanaimo Art Gallery Seeks To Expand



Study for Expanded Site Downtown

Following community consultation in 2009 and a strategic planning process in 2011, Nanaimo Art Gallery is moving towards the goal of securing a permanent and expanded home downtown in Nanaimo’s Arts District, with a ‘Category A’ designation. A ‘category A’ designation through Canadian Heritage will allow the Gallery to host significant exhibitions from cultural institutions around the world.

The Gallery, which has served the region since 1976, currently operates two locations, downtown at 150 Commercial Street and on the campus of Vancouver Island University. They have plans to amalgamate services in one location downtown.

The building at 150 Commercial Street, which is owned by the City of Nanaimo, and operated by Centre for the Arts Nanaimo (CAN), has been identified as a potential site for a new Nanaimo Art Gallery. Over recent months discussions around the suitability of the site have taken place between representatives from the Gallery, CAN and City staff. The Gallery is poised to undertake a feasibility study to analyze whether it’s present and future space requirements can be met at 150 Commercial, and determine if a future expansion on the site is possible. The Gallery is not requesting funding from the city to do this study.

Since 2001, CAN has managed the building at 150 Commercial Street, which provides affordable office and meeting space for non-profit arts and culture organizations. Currently, the building is home to the downtown location of Nanaimo Art Gallery, Theatre One, Vancouver Island Symphony, BC Boys Choir, Nanaimo Community Archives, and Crimson Coast Dance Society.

Nanaimo Art Gallery, Centre for the Arts Nanaimo and the City of Nanaimo all recognize the importance of having Nanaimo Art Gallery located in the downtown Arts District next to the Port Theatre, the new Nanaimo Museum, the Vancouver Island Military Museum, the Vancouver Island Regional Library and the VI Conference Centre. They are committed to working together to determine if 150 Commercial Street would be suitable for this important addition to Nanaimo’s cultural assets.

The City of Nanaimo recognizes the growing importance of the role played by arts and culture, and quality of place, for a healthy vibrant community and has recently embraced “Cultural Vitality” as one of the 4 pillars of sustainability in its Corporate Strategic Plan. Nanaimo Art Gallery’s plan to make their new home downtown fits well with the City’s strategic directions, and partnering with CAN and the Nanaimo Art Gallery is an important role that the City can play.
The Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission has given their support to this initiative by passing the following motion at their meeting held on Wednesday, July 25th“

“That the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission supports the Nanaimo Art Gallery in proceeding with a Facility Review and Space Analysis of 150 Commercial Street (Centre for the Arts Nanaimo building) to explore opportunities of expanding and consolidating Nanaimo Art Gallery operations as well as possibilities of upgrading to a “Class A” facility.”

For information about the Nanaimo Art Gallery please visit www.nanaimoartgallery.com or call 250 740 6350

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