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International Museum Day: Thoughts on the Art Gallery

That was yesterday and knowing that got me thinking....

With a recent ad in the newspapers for a new director of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery I thought I'd fantasize as to what I hope for that gallery. I'm reasonably qualified to do that.

I have seen its thirty six years and I have watched pretty closely four directors. I've had good ones and they all brought something differnt to the place. As a member of the Collections Committee, I know its collection and I am painfully aware of the role of the Centre and the problems of operating the place. I was among the founding members of the Women's Committe of the Gallery that was establihed under the direction of Gwen Fichaud who believed in indepedence, making money and bring the community to the Centre with interesting events.

So-o-o-o-... I am going to address it from an Islander's point of view, after all that is where the place is. Now I believe if you do something good for yourself - your best - it will be appreciated by anyone who comes along - flaws and all. I want the gallery to be a mix of past work and contemporary. I want a finger on the pulse of the art scene in the whole country. I want to go there for learning experiences, to meet artists and to meet people who are the pushers and shakers of the fine arts in the country. I want to know what's happening in other gallerys particularly at the National Gallery.

I think the artist in residence was a great program. I want the place to work with the theatre in a creative way but not to be beholding to their program. I want to be assured that we understand all arts can connect. I want the outreach program to improve. I want the excitment of the gallery to be shared with the community and particularly with the school kids, but I want the Rotarians etc. there, too.

And before we hire a new director I want to sit down with others interested in the fine arts in this province and discuss the direction of that place. I want to be sure that Islanders' needs are met there and as the twelve-month users and that we feel a responsibility to making it work to fill its national mandate and bring Islanders along with that task. I want the place to sit down with UPEI and Holland College, Council of the Arts and Depts. of Development and Tourism to establish a "Banff School of the East" or something that will create a buzz in this town year around.

Surely after 36 years we should review mandates and directions with the public who work in the field and are its patrons. And, in the meantime, many would be comforted to know who the search committee will be if indeed they move ahead with a new director right now.

Written Saturday, May 20, 2000 at 08:47 AM

(c) 2000 by Catherine Hennessey. Questions or comments? Email me@catherinehennessey.com

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