Art Gallery of Grande Prairie

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Successful Fundraiser

The first PIE Luncheon fundraising event was presented by The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie on Thursday, December 9, 2010 at the Holiday Inn Hotel.  A positive message of community support for the Gallery was passionately conveyed to a diverse Grande Prairie audience of 170 Gallery supporters.

Please read the following article in the Daily Herald Tribune with further coverage on the successful event.

Gallery fundraiser a success
By DAMIEN WOOD, Herald-Tribune staff 

It was not quite the $100,000 Art Gallery of Grande Prairie curator and executive director Robert Steven was hoping for, but over Thursday’s lunch hour the gallery did pull in $99,000 for the next five years.

At the fundraising event, with no minimum donation required, 170 Grande Prairians showed up, and many also stepped up.

Grant Berg, chairman of the gallery’s board of directors, called it overwhelming to see it all come together.

The bulk of the $99,000 came from Grande Prairie’s Canadian Tire – a $75,000 donation.

“Canadian Tire has stepped up, donating $15,000 a year for five years … where it’s going to go is into the general operating costs of the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie,” said Berg.

“A year from now, when construction (on the old building, originally a high school built in 1929) is complete, we’re going to more than double the space that we provide, and that only accounts for the shows that we program.”

Canadian Tire’s donation, the first for the Art Forever Council donation program, was the largest ever for the gallery’s operational funding.

“Everybody at Canadian Tire, from the owners on down, really believes in giving back to the community,” said Dave LaCount on behalf of the city business.

“There are a lot of people here I recognize, from the commercial community, the political community and the artists as well. I am not surprised (by the turnout) with the amount the art gallery does.”

Henri Chauvet, principal at St. Gerard Catholic school, was one of the event’s presenters, offering his own example of how much the gallery does.

PAG has been doing programming at his school, and many others in the city.

“One of the goals of the education system is to (foster) the creativity of the child, and the art gallery brings that out,” said Chauvet.

“They’ve got passion, and people who are so well-versed in what they do, and when they bring that to the classroom, like any person who has that passion, the kids just eat that up and grow with it as well.”

Chauvet said he hopes Thursday’s event, and future events, will bring more of that.

“Grades 1-9 have all had something and have made some kind of connection – something they can use – with the gallery,” he said.

“It just so happens this year had more than others.

“But for the most part elementary (does). Junior high is new, but we have art classes now and that’s very big for the kids … the kids really wanted something like that.”

Luncheon-goers were given the opportunity to donate at $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000 levels, all of which qualifies for founding member status of the Art Forever Council.

They could also donate smaller amounts.

Also encouraged was feedback – support through time, effort and ideas.

“The work they are doing here to really engage their community is fantastic,” said Mayor Bill Given, one of six council members at the event.

“The challenges they’ve had over the last while, with the collapse of the building, have really sent them in a different direction, and I think that is going to be to the benefit of not just the art gallery but ultimately the community.”

Art Gallery of Grande Prairie co-founder Robert Guest also made a donation – 62 art pieces from the well-known Beaverlodge-born artist’s Winter on the Wapiti series.