Veith Street Gallery Studio Association (VSGSA) is a community arts educational organization that was founded in 2003 by Michel Seary. It supports members of Creative Spirit East by providing exhibition venues such as Veith Street Gallery in Halifax and the Pedway Picture Gallery in Dartmouth. Its mandate is to provide a vechicle for artists who are facing challenges with disabilities, and provide them with a space to learn the bussiness of art as well as to create artwork. The participants are a broad spectrum of 90 artists.
This Halifax based organization has a catchment area that reaches Dartmouth, Cape Breton, Annapolis Valley Area, and Amherst. Artists can be associated with the centre without having to travel. Volunteers often drive out to meet people and bring back their artwork. Veith Street Gallery Studio Association actively partners and links with other community service providers.
The language of service is English. The artists who are exhibited in the gallery are adults. However, VSGSAdoes lots of community outreach programs through the Visual Connections Project, primarily with youth with disabilities and youth who face barriers such as racism, and poverty.
The arts disciplines offered are: visual, photography, printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture, 3D work, writing and short stories, graphic novels, and poetry. They want to partner with a local institution to use ceramic facilities. It has no full-time staff, 6 part-time staff, and approximately 15 volunteers/year. It has one permanent gallery Veith Street Gallery and a second that is a kiosk gallery called the Pedway Picture Gallery.
It is a drop-in for members. The artist contacts the gallery, and they do not have to disclose their disability. There is a $20 annual fee, or they’ll take a drawing instead of the fee if its too much for someone to pay. It accepts participants who are referred as well as people who do a self-referral. It has events and art shows.
Veith Street Gallery Studio Association is very good at accomodating the people who come to them, they really strive to welcome and not be judgmental. So many of the people who attend have gone through a lot of scrutiny and they don’t do that. They are known for really trying to reach others and make connections with the broader community and service providers.
Its goals this year are to try and increase funding. They also have limited hours and part-time staff. It needs art materials and supplies for the studio space such as painting supplies, drawing materials, paper. Framing is a big part of what they want to do more of. They need more equipement to make frames and fix frames. They also need help with transportation and finding a vehicle to move the art around.
Veith Street has a board of directors who are from the community. It could use some support with strategic planning, governance, fundraising.VSGSA is an emerging community art organization. VSGSA is interested in partnering or doing outreach with other community arts projects/programs/organizations/resources across Canada. It is interested in sistering/linking with another emerging/established one to share information with.
Interview with Gerard McNeil, Education and Outreach Curator, on January 21, 2010
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