PEI Council of the Arts meeting to discuss future of Guild Building
At the recent PEI Council of the Arts’ Annual General Meeting, Chair Dr. Greg Doran announced that he was calling a Special General Meeting for the membership to discuss the future ownership of the Guild Building.
The PEI Council of the Arts was originally gifted the old Royal Bank Building, now known as the Guild, in February 1994. After extensive renovations that year, the facility became a home for the arts in Charlottetown and housed a performance hall, a gallery, studio, art class space, and the Printmakers’ workshop, as well as the offices of various art groups and non-profit organizations. Subsequent years saw debts and necessary building maintenance issues increase, causing considerable financial and human resource strain on the Arts Guild Inc. and, with that, the Council. In April 2004, a Memorandum of Understanding was struck between the PEI Council of the Arts, the Province of PEI and City of Charlottetown to create a new non-profit entity whose sole aim was the successful running of the Guild building. All three organizations put forward substantial resources to make it work. Shortly thereafter, an organization named Ars Longa Inc came into existence with the purpose of running the building as per the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding. The Ars Longa Board and its staff have been operating the building ever since and are largely recognized now as “the Guild.”
In recent years it has become more difficult for the Ars Longa team to function properly. The issues of ownership without management (on the Council’s part) and management without ownership (on Ars Longa’s part) have created numerous issues. In several instances, Ars Longa has been unable to apply for, or turned down for, necessary funds because it is not the owner of the building. Conversely, the Council is not able to access the funding because it is a provincial Arts Council. Situations such as these, and others, have become more and more common; therefore, the Council’s Chair Dr. Greg Doran has called for a meeting of the membership to vote on the idea of transferring ownership of the Guild building from the PEI Council of the Arts to Ars Longa Inc., a move that, in the opinion of the Council’s Board of Directors, could remedy most of the funding and support problems and make great strides towards the long-term stability of this important building.
—submitted by the PEI Council of the Arts