You can’t stand under my umbrella

Artist-run organization in charge of the LSPU Hall gives its gallery the boot. In a nice way.

Elling Lien and Bryhanna Greenough make sense of the break-up.

RCA is saying goodbye to another section of its organization, and is bidding farewell to its early goal of cultivating all forms of art in Newfoundland.

At a special members meeting on Sunday, the 30-year-old umbrella organization’s members cast their votes and the decision was made to shift the Resource Centre for the Arts’ mandate to focus primarily on the performing arts.

The vote was 25 to 1. RCA Visual, the section in charge of the Hall’s gallery, will officially break off and move out of the LSPU Hall to a not-yet-decided location in June. It will incorporate and become another non-commercial artist-run gallery, much like the Eastern Edge. The RCA board is offering $15,000 over two years to the new organization to help with the transition.

This is not the first time this kind of thing has happened. Last year, Neighbourhood Dance Works made a similar kind of split from RCA.

The change is imagined to benefit all groups.

For RCA Visual, having an art gallery in the lobby of a theatre has posed practical problems that just haven’t gone away. A new location would better allow for installation art and conceptual uses of space, rather than having to accommodate reception crowds.

As it is now, only one RCA Visual representive sits on the entire RCA board of directors. If Neighbourhood Dance Works is any indication, having a mandate focused exclusively on the visual arts is a step towards securing more outside funding.

As for RCA Theatre Company, opening up the new space has allowed them to finally agree on a renovation plan. They have decided to turn the former gallery space into a second, cabaret-style theatre with lower rental costs. Their aim is to attract more emerging talent while helping to cover their operatingcosts.

“Once upon a time we could provide for all of the arts community in this one building but the community has grown and we can’t do that anymore,” writer and actor Lois Brown said at the meeting. “The will is there, but we can’t do it all in this building.”

5 comments

  1. Nathalie Fortune · June 26, 2013

    This letter is in response to the article: “You can’t stand under my umbrella” written in the February 28th Issue of the Scope, in the Arts section.
    This letter is in response to a specific key point: I believe that in this article there was a lack of critical art reporting.
    While I understand that the RCA Visual is leaving the LSPU Hall, I also think that the history of the RCA and its impact and participation in the development of the arts community is worth noting.
    While some members of the community may believe that “a new location” will provide better space for art and that space is needed for the growing arts community, I question whether or not the “divisions” of the RCA could take some responsibility for unresolved management conflicts of the RCA. For example, thinking about how to direct folks visiting the LSPU Hall gallery or theater.

    I find it curious that the Scope writes – for the RCA Visual to have “…a mandate focused exclusively on the visual arts is a step towards securing more outside funding.” And so? Historically, when did artist become so concerned with “security” and “funding”?
    Overall I wish the Scope had printed some kind of critical reporting with aim to engage the reader in lieu of prioritizing the ad on the page.

  2. mikiki · June 26, 2013

    This is in response to Nathalie Fortune’s comment:
    I find it more than adequate that while the scope covers enough of a 20+ year-long story critically enough while not needing to war+peace the shit out of it.
    There’s WAY too many sides to that story to make it into anything other than a cultural news-item to reportage about. As a former RCA board member and former RCAV gallery committee member, former EEG programming coordinator, long term visual arts supporter in StJ, OH and working artist- I think it’s totally the concern of not just artist-run galleries (what RCAV is) but also of artists to think of “security (of) funding”; that’s how they sustain themselves so they don’t have to drop the edgy shit in favor of commercial flavah.
    also the RCAV’s history is not without it’s own pile of stinking poo, as in the boys-club it used to be 20 years ago which is one of the main reasons eastern edge was formed (and with a feminist mandate I might add)
    Anyway I could rant on, but I’m hoping other people will fill in some of the blanks
    as it’s here, in the comment section of a web/news post where people get to hash into the real issues of the support beams of the story, its framing, all that nice shite.
    so hopefully someone, or you, will call me on some of this shit and the conversation will continue for more people to see, and understand, and work from.

  3. salmon · June 26, 2013

    oh thank you mikki

    that explains the shit I see In the Province that is
    so called art or even thought sometimes . and
    the eastern edge . theres a the runner up
    for shit . (feminist mandate) pile…

  4. mikiki · June 26, 2013

    HAHAHA wow salmon
    that’s a mouthful.
    I don’t know if it’s that you’re a hard-line Beaux-Arts (traditionalist) pile fanatic, or disappointed that most of newfoundland’s contemporary/conceptual artists have left the province to foster links in larger arts communities… but apparently you’re not satisfied with what you’ve been seeing in the NL gallery circuit.
    why not become a cultural producer yourself?
    :)

  5. lemon · June 26, 2013

    twinkle twinkle little art star ,
    how i wonder who you are.
    up above us all .
    how wonder where you.

    art stars are a dime
    a dozen.