City architect and ART26201 founding member Bryson VanNostrand at the Oct. 4 Colonial Arts Center Board meeting. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

ART26201 says it needs financial support from the city to continue to operate Colonial Arts Center’s M.I.B. Gallery

BUCKHANNON – The Colonial Arts Center Board tabled a decision about whether to renew ART26201’s operation of the M.I.B. Gallery in the Colonial Arts Center.

ART 26201 President and founding member Bryson VanNostrand attended the Oct. 4 Colonial Arts Center board meeting to discuss their continued involvement with the gallery. ART26201 is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “celebrate and promote the creative and inspirational opportunities in the Buckhannon community,” according to its website.

“I don’t think it’s going to be an easy ‘yes’ or ‘no’ this time around because the cost ART26201 has to host these gallery events is pretty significant and the funds for that are pretty much drying up,” VanNostrand said. “Generally speaking, it costs us about $1,000 per show and that’s the cost of patching, painting the walls, transport of the work to and from the artist’s studio, putting the artist up in a hotel, feeding them, showing them around town, even packaging the artwork, unpacking and packing and so on, so it’s significant.”

VanNostrand said the events have been beneficial for the town and the artists.

“We’ve been doing 10 shows a year, two of those have been local, like the Buckhannon Camera Club and the Upshur County student exhibition – neither of those costs $1,000, more like $300 or $400 — but there’s a lot of staff time that goes into design, posters and printing, and it just it adds up,” VanNostrand said.

ART26201 is still interested in arranging shows for the gallery, but VanNostrand said they would need financial support.

“We’re at a crossroads [as to] whether or not we can continue doing it in the same manner,” VanNostrand said. “For example, we’re not charging any commission on any artworks; that’s a very notable characteristic. That catches every artist’s attention – that they’re going to capture 100 percent of the of that money, especially for us to handle transport back and forth and bring it into town, put them up. No other galleries are doing that.”

He said another possibility is the organization could reduce the number of events from 10 shows a year.

“I would like to see if the CAC board could come back to ART26201 and say, ‘We want you to run the gallery for X amount of shows a year,’ and once we have that in hand, then we can make the financial request for that operation,” VanNostrand said.

CAC board president John Waltz said they would evaluate ART26201’s request, and CAC board members agreed to table the decision until their next meeting.

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