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CURRENT COLUMN

Visual Artists as Entrepreneurs and Marketers
September 2013
Visual Artists as Entrepreneurs and Marketers

Audain Art Museum
June 2013
Siting an Art Museum in a Forest

Gordon Smith Gallery
November 2012
Boosting the Profile of Artists for Kids

Equinox
September 2012
From glacial meltwater to contemporary art

Morris & Helen Belkin Gallery
June 2012
Professional curators of contemporary art were once as scarce as hen's teeth

Equinox Gallery
April 2012
Gallery owners have their eye on East Vancouver

Equinox Gallery
February 2012
Gallery owners have their eye on East Vancouver

Jacana Gallery
November 2011
Nothing is certain but death and taxes

Satellite Gallery
September 2011
Hope springs eternal


June 2011
The Hotel Waldorf
reimagined


April 2011
Education for the eye,
soul and mind


February 2011
Fine art inkjet prints
are here to stay


November 2010
SAAG endows the old
with new possibilities

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June 2004



Gallery Views

By ANN ROSENBERG

An Amenity Bonus is a perk worth having

To ensure that non-profit cultural societies can continue to be located in Vancouver’s expensive downtown core, the City actively seeks to provide appropriate spaces through its Amenity Bonusing program. In this program, which began in 1975, the City, in partnership with private developers, creates affordable cultural facilities and live-work studios at no cost to taxpayers for approved associations that require them.

Contemporary Art Gallery

Contemporary Art Gallery is housed in a Bonused
Amenity at 555 Nelson Street, Vancouver

On its part, the scheme often allows the developer to build additional storeys on a future project. The value of that ‘amendment’ is calculated by the City’s real estate department using a “consistent pro forma analysis.” The developer must build a fully finished gallery or another type of specialized space equivalent in dollar terms to that amount and prepay 20 years of the space’s operating costs to the City.

The City then secures the cultural amenity through a legal agreement which includes a lease for the life of the building. A pre-determined non-profit society sublets the Bonused Amenity from the City for a nominal rent (typically utilities) with the condition that prior to signing the sub-lease, the not-for-profit group has demonstrated an ability to raise funds. If feasible, before the deal is finalized, the city encourages the association to start the endowment fund that will be necessary to secure its space in future.

Non-profit groups cannot take the endowment fund with them if they decide to move to a different space and no endowment fund money will be theirs if the organization ceases to exist. Big bucks must be raised – at least $400,000-600,000 – to grow the required trust fund.

Perhaps because some groups in the past were unable to gather enough money for their endowments, the City now articulates conditions for Bonusing with absolute clarity. It emphasizes the participating association’s necessity of initiating the establishment of an endowment fund before or at the time they first occupy their purpose-built premise.

These days, the Contemporary Art Gallery at 555 Nelson Street and ArtStarts in Schools at 873 Beattie Street are managing well under the pressure generated by the need to gather money.

CAG director Christina Ritchie said that long before the anticipated move to the new Bonused Amenity gallery in 2001, her predecessor Keith Wallace made enormous efforts to provide funds for the move and the start-up of the Endowment Fund. Financial support came from individuals and corporations who wished to ensure the continuity of the institution’s service to the art community.

ArtStarts Director Wendy Newman, whose non-profit group has been ‘in the program’ since 1996, is also not afraid of ‘THE BIG E’ because she knows she is running something that businesses and people will want to support. At ArtStarts there are exhibitions of childrens’ art that result from artist-taught in-the-schools programs throughout British Columbia. ArtStarts’ expanding ‘virtual’ program is catching fire and attracting sponsorships like moths to flame.

Next issue, the history of the Bonused Amenity that until 2004 was the home of the Canadian Craft Museum will be briefly examined and so will the “New Tax Credit Program” that is generating millions of dollars towards the construction of Portland’s future Museum of Contemporary Craft.

Ann Rosenberg is a freelance curator, critic and author.

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