This year, VANL-CARFAC made five recommendations to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for the up-coming 2014-15 budget:
- The Rooms art gallery is key to the success of this province’s artists and their work’s legacy, while improving the well-being of her citizens. Currently, the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery does not have enough curators to adequately develop exhibitions by the province’s contemporary artists, and new exhibitions are less likely to tour to other venues in Canada. Stretching also results in extended exhibition runs and a lower turnover of permanent collection exhibitions. This discourages the repeat visitor. According to Hill Strategies The Arts and Individual Well-Being in Canada report (2013), increased art gallery attendance correlates with increased physical and mental well-being and social engagement. For example Art gallery visitors have an 89% greater likelihood of having volunteered in the past year than non-visitors, even after accounting for other factors such as income, age and education.
- As well, an increased budget for the Art Acquisitions program for The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery. Maintaining and growing a collection is a vital activity of any public art gallery. Galleries do this as part of their mandate to act as cultural stewards for past, current and future citizens. The collection mandate of public galleries is broader than that of a program such as the Art Bank of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery Collection must cross historic periods as well as acquire contemporary works, and must represent the broader Canadian cultural context (and even international when deemed appropriate). This should make it clear that the current Provincial Art Gallery Acquisitions budget is too small to make the gallery an effective steward in this area. For this reason, we recommend that the Minister increase the budget of the program to match that of the Art Bank of Newfoundland and Labrador, a vital acquisition program with a vastly different collecting mandate. Both collections must be maintained and must grow in order to make the Provincial Art Gallery an effective public institution.