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Funding request approved for Durham Art Gallery

steven morel and david sugarman at the main intersection of Durham

Above, Steven Morel, Durham Art Gallery Arts Administrator and David Sugarman, President of the Board of Directors stand outside the proposed co-op gallery in Durham.


West Grey Council approved a $54,000 supporting funds request from the Durham Art Gallery over three years.

Durham Art Gallery Board of Director President David Sugarman went before West Grey Council on Feb. 5 to discuss two initiatives.

The Durham Art Gallery is looking to invest $1 million along with an equal amount from some local investors in a Social Finance Fund. The fund would potentially provide financing for second mortgages for artists and art-based businesses who buy buildings located in downtown areas of West Grey. Part of the funding requirements would be that the artist would have to keep an active storefront presence along with other community commitments as well as participate in an open studio event annually. The gallery is looking at starting this portion of their proposal in September or October.

The Government of Canada intends to invest $755 million over the next 10 years to establish a Social Finance Fund as announced in the Fall Economic Statement of 2018. "Support from the Municipality of West Grey would be helpful in securing this funding for the gallery," said Sugarman.

The second initiative from the Durham Art Gallery is to open an artist co-op in a leased 4,400 square foot building, affectionately known as the "Tiltin Hilton," located at the intersection of Hwy 6 and Grey Road 4 in Durham, adding art display space to the current 1,800 square foot Durham Art Gallery. 

"The Gallery wants to connect with other organizations to participate in this endeavour, and interact with artists," said Sugarman. 

The Gallery plans to use the funding from the municipality to give participating co-op artists training to provide economic development information to individuals touring municipalities or looking to set up businesses. The co-op gallery would be open 7.5 hours per day, 6 days a week.

A tour of the proposed co-op was held Feb. 20, lead by Sugarman, to give a group of local artists a feel for the gallery spaces available. Sugarman would like to have approximately 16 member artists showing at the co-op gallery. There would also be space for the community shows which are currently held at the Durham Art Gallery, as well as a space for workshops and classes.

Work would be done to the co-op gallery space to prepare it for the opening including the removal of existing carpet and fresh paint on the floors and walls. The building has been vacant since Mar. 1.

As we reported in July of 2018, after receiving a donation of shares from Peter Fallis and the late Claude E. Fallis, the shares were sold, resulting in a generous infusion of monies for the Gallery. Improvements to the Gallery such as exterior work as well as air conditioning are some of the upgrades that will be made as a result of these funds. The remaining capital was invested and will be used for future programming.


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Updated March 12, 2020.

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