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December 3, 2015
AGA ED COMMENTS ON CITY COUNCIL DECISION
On Tuesday, December 1, the Edmonton Arts Council made a request to Edmonton City Council for $250,000 in additional annual funding (for the three years 2016-2018) to support new Art Gallery of Alberta initiatives as outlined in the new
5-Year Strategic Plan (2016-2020).
Regrettably, this request was reported as one for “emergency funding” required to secure the ongoing operation of the AGA. This is absolutely and unequivocally not the case. The AGA does not have a need for emergency funding, having delivered balanced operating results for the last 3 fiscal years (including 2015) while continuing to deliver the excellence in programming expected of one of Alberta’s flagship cultural institutions.
The nature of the request was to enable the AGA to move forward quickly and boldly on new initiatives designed to bring transformative change to the AGA. While we are very pleased that the concept of “free admission” has captured public attention, the AGA’s new Strategic Plan includes many integral components, such as:
Educational outreach to students across Alberta through new on-line and community-based learning initiatives;
Provincial outreach programs to connect the AGA with smaller communities in Northern Alberta;
New audience engagement tools to enhance people’s experience at the AGA; and
Potential revisions to admission price and public hours to make the AGA more accessible for all Albertans.
Despite the decision of City Council, we will move forward with many of the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan, as funding allows. We are thankful for the ongoing commitment of our community partners, corporate sponsors, patrons and membership who continue to support the AGA and help make such a bold future direction possible. We are also grateful to the City of Edmonton, the Province of Alberta and the Canada Council for the Arts for their ongoing operational contribution to the AGA. We do not believe that City Council’s decision, in this difficult budget year, in any way reflects a lack of support for the AGA.
I, and the Board of Directors, are confident in this new direction and the way in which it will transform how the AGA connects with people in Edmonton and across Alberta. We look forward to an exciting new year for the AGA in which we bring exhibitions as diverse as 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. and Beauty’s Awakening: Drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites and Their Contemporaries to Edmonton. Please check our website and social media for future announcements.
With best regards,
Executive Director / Chief Curator
Art Gallery of Alberta