Art gallery short on funding this year

Terrace Art Association is tight for money this year after a grant was denied, and may have to close in the spring.

Photography such as this one as well as intricate and interesting local paintings are displayed annually at the Terrace Art Gallery.

Terrace Art Association members made an urgent request for emergency financial assistance from city council in what members say is a one-time situation with money being short.

Ann Kantakis told council the association was denied its annual BC Gaming grant for the first time ever and asked the city for a one-time emergency donation of $9,000.

“This is for survival,” said Kantakis.

The gallery applied for gaming money as usual this year and expected to receive it, just as it had in past years.

Its application and financial situation was similar to past years so when the gaming said it was ineligible, gallery members were surprised.

BC Gaming said since the gallery has a surplus of more than 50 per cent of the previous year’s expenses on hand, it is ineligible for a grant, said Kantakis.

The gallery has had cash on hand exceeding 50 per cent for the last three years and received a grant each of those  years anyway, she added.

When Kantakis questioned BC Gaming about the surplus, she was told it would send out a warning to the applicant when cash on hand exceeds more than 50 per cent but the art gallery has never received a warning and made its application as usual, said Kantakis.

The gaming guidelines did not include information that gaming staff told her on the phone, she added.

And she was told there was no way for the art gallery to appeal its ineligibility this year.

Gaming money is used exclusively for wages and used immediately; however, if the money was held until January, the surplus would’ve been reduced by four months of wages, leaving the gallery with only 33 per cent of the previous year’s expenses, which would make it eligible for the grant, she explained.

Kantakis said the gaming staff person she talked to agreed that was a great idea and an easy solution that the art gallery can do from now on, she added.

“The situation we’re in will never happen again,” said Kantakis.

Gallery chair Bob Park said to make up for the shortfall, the gallery is going to be open for four days instead of six, the coordinator has been cut down from 29 hours to 24 hours, and the assistant coordinator and summer student have been laid off.

A cash raffle is underway and hopefully will raise $7,000 by March 2017, he said.

Previous donors are being asked to continue their support and letter have gone out to potential corporate sponsors and foundations, he added.

“But if we can’t come up [with the money], the gallery will be closing next spring,” he said.