City Leaves 33 Year Old Public Gallery Out of Art Centre Discussion in Cornwall Ontario – JUNE 4, 2015

CORNWALL Ontario – In an odd twist of events the City Report from staff to council to be presented Monday night excludes The Art Gallery of Cornwall.  The city’s 33 year old public gallery was left off of the report to council of groups to confer with regarding the city spending $50,000 on a study for the creation of an art centre.

TAG Cornwall has been the centre of Art in Cornwall for decades, but saw its funding cut to zero this year with many citing a clear predjudice of council against some of the board members.

“PURPOSEIn response to a notice of motion brought forward by Councillors Elaine MacDonald and Carilyne Hebert at the May 11th Council meeting and adopted at the May 25th meeting, staff are providing Council with an update on the work that has been completed to date regarding a feasibility study for an Arts Centre for the City of Cornwall and request additional funding from Council to complete this process.”

MacDonald and Hebert are both past Presidents of TAG Cornwall and under scrutiny themselves including by Cornwall Community Police for their activities while on the board.


The City has identified Arts and Culture as a priority as part of third pillar/Vibrant & Healthy Quality of Life. One of the tasks identified is to investigate the need for a multi disciplinary facility. In order to move forward with any further discussions on the need for an Arts Centre which has been suggested in many previous studies and reports, it has been recommended that the City complete a feasibility study to determine the need, components, the best location and the cost to construct and operate such a facility.”

If you can’t or won’t support your Public Gallery how on earth will you be able to support a much larger facility?  The cost of TAG has ranged from $56K to $70K per year which is a meagre and miserly amount of money if the city actually gave more than lip service to the arts.

“In 2011, the City of Cornwall participated in a community project with local regional partners to develop a regional culture plan now referred to as “Culturescape”. The intent of this exercise was to further cultural development in the City and the region. One of the key themes that emerged from the study relating to the development of a vision for culture in Cornwall and the region was “the need for a publicly identifiable place which is recognised by the community and which can act as a Centre for training, production and experience of cultural activities and products”.

How much did Culture Scape end up costing in tax dollars?  Over $100,000K ?   What did taxpayers get for that?  What happened to Culture Scape?

“It will be most important to work closely with the City’s Culture Plan Committee in order to ensure that partnerships are created and that consultation with the appropriate arts and culture groups are at the forefront of this fact finding process. The terms of reference clearly spell out the role of the Steering Committee which will be comprised with one member of the City’s Culture Plan Committee, one member of YAC (Your Arts Council), one member from the Arts Collective/Collectif for Centre for the Arts, one lay appointment and municipal staff. They will review interim reports prepared by the Consultant before proceeding to Council.”

TAG’s board is 100% made of up artists.  It has the largest membership in the Arts community.     The City’s appointed committee is led by a grocer and has a councilor sitting on it that did not sit for the budget presentation from TAG but came in after to kill the public gallerie’s funding.    YAC has no real footing and about 30 members according to its President.  It has been around for about three eyars.

The Arts Collective?  Who are they?

Cornwall does need to invest more in the Arts, but if you don’t support your own Art Assets does it make any sense to build more?  For what purpose?

Sadly the snickerdoodle on council will giggle about spending the money that should have been given to TAG to actually support Artists which will be spent on a study that will never amount to anything.

It’s time to support Artists and the Arts instead of bureaucrats and consultants.

On a sad note it’s disheartening to see both  Stephen Alexander & Christine Lefebvre end their long careers with such a report as both are retiring.

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.



  1. Without a good art gallery, and without a good library a town dies and that is what happened to Cornwall. There are no educational opportunities at that weak minded college and anybody who is intelligent do not stay but take to the highway and head where there is art, libraries, education and civility. A town that cannot get to 50K is a disgrace and the vast majority are senior citizens. Leslie is not much better than BOB at all from what I have been noticing and has the same feelings towards Jamie but slightly more hidden but I can see through the whole façade from this end. The people of Cornwall are the ones to blame more than the leader. People deserve the leader that they have and worse.

  2. Yeap, blame the people, we’re to blame for no “arts centre.” Once this city figures out what they want then we can put the blame on why it isn’t built exactly as we want it. Whatever happens everyone will not be happy. You cannot please all the people all the time.

  3. feasibility study ($$$) to construct (design/build) and operate (think insurance, staffing, maintenance, parking, snow removal etc) a facility when there’s already a physical gallery in place that could launch offerings by featuring a whole spectrum of artists on the Internet? please… if goals include enhancing cornwall’s image along the 401 between toronto and montreal (for artists, art lovers/enthusiasts) create something that builds on what the city already has. or, throw money off the bridge on a windy day

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