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Art Gallery and Museum continue to be public hot spot

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By cutting over $30,000 from their overall operating expenses and adding a little bit more in the form of operating grants and self-generated income, the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum managed to turn a $10,000 deficit into a $15,000 surplus between 2010 and 2011.

The figures were released at the EAGM's annual general meeting held at the gallery last Thursday evening, showing a slight profit on nearly $270,000 in total revenue. 

Amber Ganje was elected as the new chairwoman of the board of directors, replacing Joan Phair who now takes on the role of immediate past president.

During the course of the annual review, it was noted that self-generated funds amounted to $43,768 this past year, about $1,000 more than 2010 with the major fundraising event being the annual Festival of Art which netted the gallery nearly $11,000. Other gallery events that were held during the course of the year such as the wine-tasting dinner, chili cook-off, and garage sale brought in $1,000 to $2,500 each in total profits while memberships accounted for another few thousand dollars, said fundraising committee chairwoman Shirley Thera.

The Spectra Community Foundation Grant of $5,000 that was awarded to the EAGM last year was used to purchase new computers, wireless printers and a pallet jack.

The primary supporter of the gallery, the City of Estevan, provided a three per cent increase in financial support, allowing the EAGM to move on with roof repairs, a new fire warning system and a new administrative position.

The gallery welcomed a new director/curator last year when Amber Andersen arrived to assume the position left vacant when Griffith Aaron Baker left to take up similar duties with the Mann Art Gallery in Prince Albert. During an interim period, educator Karly Garnier filled the role while continuing to do her duties.

Andersen noted that a Museums Association of Saskatchewan's operating grant of $10,000 will be used for the installation of track lighting to complete the project that was started by Baker two years earlier.
Andersen said the new facility configurations are being refined and a reading room space has been created as a result.

During the past year, the outreach programming included a Heritage Day, a Classics Auto Show and Shine and barbecue in August and participation in the Collage Cultural Festival. The gallery also launched an After Dark musical arts series that has carried into 2012.

Andersen said that public attendance at the gallery has increased to 9,946 in 2011 from 7,660 in 2009 following a slight dip in 2010.

Andersen said the gallery will again be applying for a multi-year Saskatchewan Arts Board grant so that more art classes and events can be staged at the gallery that will include even more people.

Garnier reported that she conducted 95 educational tours last year at the EAGM including 14 visits from Estevan public school students, 35 classes from the separate school system, 27 from the rural schools and 19 other organizations for a total of 2,093 young people and 333 adults. She also pointed out there were three summer art camps held at the gallery with waiting lists posted for each of them. She said the outreach program had to be scaled back due to time commitments and logistics.

The workshop attendance in 2011 compared with 2010 increased by about 250 students to 2,426.
Phair noted in her wrap-up report that policy reviews had been conducted and strategic planning had been updated to accommodate the changing needs of the gallery and public interest.

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