Sidney Fine Art Show still on: for now

Organizers of the Sidney Fine Art Show say the event is on despite rumours to the contrary — and resignations.

A resignation and communication issues over the future of the Sidney Fine Art Show led to the committee running it to step away. It is expected to still run in October.

Organizers of the annual Sidney Fine Art Show say the event is on for 2016, despite rumours to the contrary — and the resignation of the committee tasked with putting it on.

Interim President of the Community Arts Coucnil of the Saanich Peninsula (CASSP), Danny Daniels said in a statement issued last week that the Arts Council intends to continue the show in 2016.

Daniels told the PNR the Mary Winspear Centre is still booked for the Fine Art Show this year. What form it will take and how the Arts Council board will be able to get together with people willing to stage the show remains to be seen, he said.

The committee whose job it was to run the event decided recently that it would no longer participate.

This, after the committee chair and then-CACSP President Richard Julien resigned due to health reasons.

Diane Thorp, a member of the CACSP Board of Directors, said the concern is with a lack of communication over the Council’s plans for the art show. That, she said, led to the resignation of the committee.

After spending thousands of hours on the event, Thorp said she hopes for it to continue, saying it is for the artists as well as for the Town of Sidney.

“I am hoping for the Town of Sidney and for the arts community,” she continued. “My real interest here is the artists and for the arts community I am hoping that the show will go ahead. That is my hope.”

Daniels stated the Arts Council  received a proposal from the Mary Winspear Centre recently. He said the Centre  said by providing additional resources for the Fine Art Show — and combining it with a First Nations art and sculpture component — it would offer major reduction in fees.

It was communication over this issue that the Arts Council stated that led to the committee’s resignation.

Daniels said it has always been the intention of the Arts Council to continue the Show, while looking to further study the proposal from the Mary Winspear Centre. That was not communicated to the committee, he said.

“As far as the arts council is concerned, our mandate is to be able to present opportunities for the artists on the Peninsula to demonstrate their work and do the things which basically the Fine Art show has been doing…” Daniels told the PNR.

He said they have also applied for a grant from Heritage Canada to help pay for the show. That grant would ensure they have the funds to be able to put it on.

That grant money, in previous years, went to the committee to use for the show. Daniels said they have quite a large body of volunteers that help them, along with other  programs going on during the year.

Daniels states CACSP has reached out to the committee members, asking them to reconsider.

“Let me put it this way,” he continued, “I’m fairly confident that it will (continue). Knowing what the arts community is like on the Peninsula I’m pretty certain that even if this group doesn’t want to do it, there will be a lot of other people who do.”

Daniels told the PNR on Monday he hasn’t heard from the committee. He is also aware the issue is being circulated in town.

He said the Board will obviously have to make a decision on this and will meet on March. 17.

He said as of this point, the show will continue and that there are other alternatives if the Board decides, in fact, not to continue on.