Partners Hall will permanently be adorned with local artwork thanks to an agreement between the Huntsville Art Society (HAS) and the Town of Huntsville.
The group moved its August 2016 show – Brushstrokes of Muskoka – to Partners Hall when its usual space in the Culture Station was no longer available after the CN Station was closed due to air quality issues. It has since hosted four more shows in Partners Hall and now, with this new agreement ratified by Council at its December meeting, HAS will continue to show the work of local artists there.
After a question from Deputy Mayor Karin Terziano, Algonquin Theatre Manager Matt Huddlestone acknowledged that HAS is paying a rate less than the Town’s user fee bylaw due to the society’s limited funds, but as the group will be renting gallery wall space year-round it works out in the Town’s favour. In the past three years, the gallery walls have only been rented in July and August at the peak season rate of $120 per week. HAS will be paying a flat annual fee of $2500, prorated for next year due to previous bookings. The gallery walls will be used by other groups for three months in 2017 – YWCA Muskoka for International Women’s Day in March and local artist Janine Marson in July and August for her project Seeing through Tom’s eyes: a discovery of truth, light and colour, 100 sketches in honour of the 100th anniversary of Tom Thomson’s death.
The Town will continue to collect a 20 per cent commission on art sales in Partners Hall which is added to the reserve account for future acquisition of public art by the Town of Huntsville.
Huddlestone also noted that although HAS is a member-based organization, they have agreed to remain open to other artists in the gallery and that Partners Hall is still available to rent as a venue for functions.
“Having the artwork (in Partners Hall) is a strong asset, it just adds another dimension. People can’t believe we’ve got an art gallery,” said Huddlestone. “This agreement is helping to bring more people in to the building. It’s great for the theatre – hopefully we’ll get some ticket sales out of it.”
Councillor Nancy Alcock was among those who voiced support for the agreement at the November General Committee meeting. “What I really like is I can go to events and it’s a wonderful thing to see art in Partners Hall and every time it’s different.”
Huntsville Art Society’s current show, Shed a little light…a collection of works that will brighten a wintry day, runs until January 15, 2017. The gallery is open for viewing during Civic Centre hours of operation unless Partners Hall has been reserved for a private function.
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