Plus ça change…

In the late 1980s, I was on the Board of Directors of an artist-run centre in Peterborough called Artspace. At the time, Artspace’s home was a large, multi-purpose space in downtown Peterborough’s historic Market Hall.

Artspace was constantly in financial trouble, mostly because the costs associated with maintaining and operating the Market Hall facility outpaced the organization’s ability to raise funds to cover them. But also because running the Market Hall required an administrative infrastructure, and this led to inevitable battles between administrators and artists (and among different types of artists). By the end, the subject of the Artspace conversation was the building, not the art it was intended to house and stimulate.

It appears as though the Arts Guild in Charlottetown is in a similar predicament.

My advice: sell the building, pay off the debt, and go back to making art.

It’s not that the Arts Guild isn’t a good idea. It has provided home to many excellent artistic endeavours that would have otherwise been homeless.

But when the anchor of maintaining a facility consumes the artistic community, drains resources from it, and saps artistic energy, it’s time to cut loses and move on.


Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on March 28, 2003 - 04:30 Permalink

Peter, I do not agree with you on this issue entirely. Back in the mid 90’s when I started getting into punk music, if you would call it that, the Arts Guild was the only stage in town that would host these events. The place would fill up and allow youths to display their musical art to other youths in the city. Recently in the last 2 years the Arts Guild has moved away from allowing kids to put shows on in their building. First by making it to expensive for youths to break even then eventually just saying no to any one who tried booking the stage.

My suggestion to the Guild is to allow youths to put their shows on in their building. Maybe even host their own shows, kids have deep pockets you know. My friends and I on several occasions hosted a show at the arts guild and went home with over $300.00 in our pockets after paying away bands, sound equipment and the booking fees.