Artists protest outside TAG Cornwall

Around a dozen artists protest outside The Art Gallery of Cornwall on Feb. 9, 2016. The artists feel they are getting no support from TAG and have issues with a certain member of the board. Meanwhile, the board was meeting inside to devise a long term plan to save the 30-year-old gallery. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A group of artists protested Tuesday night outside The Art Gallery of Cornwall, calling for a change within the administration of the public gallery.

The group also believes Your Arts Council (YAC) should be tasked with running a local gallery.

About a dozen people stood outside the gallery on Pitt Street and chanted “We are artists!” while holding placards with slogans such as “YAC 4 TAG.”

Meanwhile, inside, a larger group of nearly two dozen were meeting with the board to devise a long term plan for the gallery. This came hours after two board members made their pitch to a city budget committee for $85,000.

Board President Wyatt Walsh and vice president of communications, Jamie Gilcig, suggested the art gallery, in its 30th year, is in financial trouble but were optimistic it can be saved.

The artists on the street are upset with the hierarchy of the board, singling out certain members as fascists.

Artists Heather Smith and Tracy Davies spoke for the group.

“To me, I feel like, let go of the rope and hopefully something else will become of it. The arts community is very strong in Cornwall,” Smith said.

“One of the thoughts was, YAC as a (arts) council. If they received money from the city they could manage a gallery for us. (It) doesn’t have to be this one. But if the city is willing to fund it then we could use a third party,” artist Tracy Davies told CNW.

“We are all at different stages, different levels (as artists), we have no support,” Davies added.

She also cited YAC’s Apples and Art Studio Tour as a big support for local artists.

Davies, a painter, was asked how she would survive as an artist if TAG closed.

“It is difficult. Just because they’re here (TAG) doesn’t mean we have support from there. Right now, YAC is supporting us. We are on our own. We have Focus Art that runs many shows. We don’t have a gallery,” Davies said.

“They seem to think that, if they close, there’s no more art. That’s not the case. They’ve brought us all together from all different groups. We’re all standing out here together to say, we want a gallery, we need a gallery, we want them gone and we will do it.”

“There’s no partnership here. Just a big barrier so we really don’t need them, they need us,” added Linda Geisel, the co-chairman of Focus Art.