Arnica will turn to mentor program after gallery closes its doors

Arnica Artist-Run Centre will soon close its gallery doors and focus on a new mentorship program.

Previously, the gallery space at the Old Courthouse saw continuous six-week-long shows put on by its member artists.

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The gallery will wrap up with Arnica’s final show of the season, the annual Members’ Show and Sale, which will run from Nov. 23 to Dec. 22 at the Old Courthouse, 7 West Seymour St.

Arnica was first incorporated as a society in 2003 by students from the University College of the Cariboo. In 2008 it became a charity and has paid artists CARFAC fees. CARFAC is a national artists’ representation organization that sets minimum fees artists should be paid for exhibiting their work.

The closure of the gallery came about because the organization’s current model was not sustainable, according to gallery administrator Christine Beaton.

“We’re still going to be a viable artist-run non-profit society. The gallery doors closing is mostly because the funding cannot support a gallery in the format we have been running,” Beaton said.

Beaton said the gallery, which relies on grants to pay its artists fees for exhibitions, said it would only get 20 to 30 per cent of what it would ask for, and as a result had to limit how much work gallery shows could display.

Instead, Arnica will shift its focus to a mentorship program where it will pair emerging artists with established and experienced B.C. artists.

“Personally, I think it’ll be a little bit of everything. It will be grant writing, it will be the business side and it will be artistic content and everything — probably even building crates for shipping,” Beaton said.

So far as Beaton knows, there aren’t any other mentorship opportunities like this one in B.C.

“This is hopefully something that will start providing really good, strong opportunities for these graduates,” she said.

Mentees will be local artists from Kamloops — those who have graduated within the last three years from TRU’s bachelor of fine arts program.

“If we can get this on track and continue on this then we can expand it to include more outlying areas, because not everybody stays in the city where they go to school,” Beaton said.

“We have to be limited now, but I really hope we can expand beyond.

The program will start with one or two mentees over a 12-week period concluded by an exhibition of the mentee’s work — and possibly the mentor’s, as well.

Just because Arnica is closing its gallery doors doesn’t mean it will no longer exhibit work.

Beaton said the group is also looking at the possibility of hosting other member exhibitions at “pop-up” locations they can access on-demand.

© Kamloops This Week


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