Grant of $18,000 helping Comox Valley Art Gallery toward financial stability

An $18,000 grant from the BC Arts Council helps to bring stability to the Comox Valley Art Gallery, says its administrator.

  • Mar. 20, 2013 8:00 a.m.

EVEN THE CHAIRS are colourful at the Comox Valley Art Gallery.

An $18,000 grant from the BC Arts Council helps to bring stability to the Comox Valley Art Gallery, says its administrator.

The BCAC earlier this year approved nearly $117,000 to support arts and culture in the Comox Valley.

The money is a “huge help,” enabling CVAG to progress on its strategic plan and to stabilize as an organization, says gallery administrator Sharon Karsten.

“We’re finally able to move forward as opposed to just treading water,” she said.

The gallery had been crippled in recent years by an accumulating debt. By last May, Karsten said CVAG was no longer in a deficit position but was nevertheless in danger of returning to a deficit.

The galley had therefore scaled back staff hours, and forwarded a request to the community for support. The plea generated a couple thousand dollars.

Since then, CVAG has received “positive funding results” from the arts council and the City of Courtenay.

On a cautionary note, Karsten notes the annual gaming grant that normally arrives in September is still outstanding, which makes budgeting difficult. The gallery received $25,000 last year. It had previously been reduced to $6,000.

“What we now need to do is make sure that’s sustainable,” Karsten said. “It’s a bit of a volatile situation with gaming.”

Some staffing hours have been reinstated as the gallery is “cautiously moving forward,” she added.

The strategic plan is at www.comoxvalleyartgallery.com.

“This charts some clear direction for the gallery moving forward,” Karsten said. “I think that’s really important for an organization to think about its role in the wider community.”

The current main exhibit is Towards Grace, a members’ show that runs until April 20. An artist talk is being held this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the gallery at 580 Duncan Ave. in downtown Courtenay.

A Youth Media Project dubbed Illuminate will be launched Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Old Church Theatre at 755 Harmston Ave. in Courtenay. Admission is free. A reception will follow at the gallery.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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