Eastern Edge Art Gallery is expressing considerable concern over the unexpected proposed changes to The Rooms Act, as proposed in Bill 56. These changes are being proposed without consultation of the general public and professional stakeholders in the Art, Archives, and Museums communities. This is in direct violation of Section 10b of The Rooms Act as established in 2005.
“As an artist-run organization deeply invested in supporting diverse, rigorous and independent artistic activity, we’re concerned over how these changes may jeopardize the autonomy of arts programming within our provincial art gallery and negatively impact professional positions and artistic opportunities at the Rooms and within our arts community at large,” says Alex Noel, Chair of the Board.
As there has been no consultation with the public, or arts stakeholders, we are not confident that this decision has been made with the correct oversight or understanding of arms-length funding with federal institutions, and the autonomy required to maintain a competitive strategic direction for a contemporary art gallery.
We stand with our colleagues at Visual Artists NL and the Atlantic Provinces Art Gallery Association (APAGA) in requesting that information regarding reasoning to substantiate this decision be made public.
1. How will these proposed changes affect the mandate of the gallery and in turn impact the requirements of substantial funders to the Gallery such as the Canada Council for the Arts? Were these funders consulted in this process? What is the long-term financial impact of this decision? Have all stakeholders been consulted and avenues explored?
2. How will the professional credibility of the Art Gallery, its operations, programming, and collection practices? Our concern is that limiting independence within the Provincial Art Gallery division, will result in funders and artists having serious concerns?
3. How will The Rooms guarantee best practices in terms of the safety and care of our province's cultural treasures as well as the diversity of that collection, under this new management structure?
With little or no public consultation process between the province, the arts community, and these funding bodies, it is our expert position that passing this bill is highly ill advised at this time. The Rooms Act of 2005 was created after considerable consultation with community stakeholders who are well-informed of professional practices within their field. To describe The Act as ineffective without justification, and to move forward without consultation, is in direct violation of the spirit in which The Rooms was created and does your constituents and community as a whole a great disservice.
Eastern Edge has requested an immediate meeting with Minister Mitchelmore to discuss these items further. We encourage our members to send their own letters to Minister Mitchelmore, in addition to representatives listed below in an effort halt the passing of Bill 56 immediately until community consultations have taken place.
Membership continues to be an vital component of Eastern Edge Gallery. With your support, we are able to continue to bring you the best of local, national, and international contemporary art through the programming of our Main Gallery, the Rogue Gallery, and our newly re-named summer arts festival, HOLD FAST. Eastern Edge also facilitates over forty creative events annually, including artist talks, workshops, members’ events, music nights and much more!