The line-up always makes for a great time at Divas and Friends. Interior News archive

Smithers Gallery Association cancels Divas Friends Variety Show

The gallery says they can’t find anyone to book artists. Also, a look at arts 2018 funding requests.

Despite its success, the Smithers Gallery Association will be canceling its Divas & Friends Variety Show.

It was a fundraising concert that that featured performances from local musicians.

“Unfortunately, because it’s music related and we don’t really have strong contacts in that arts field, it’s not something we can organize internally. We have to rely on a volunteer who’s willing to coordinate that for us and find the artist and has the connections,” said gallery manger Caroline Bastable.

“We just haven’t been able to find anybody that’s willing to do it. If somebody turns up as result of this article we would love to have them work with us to help us organize it again.”

Delegations from the Smithers Public Library, Bulkey Valley Historical and Museum Society, Smithers Gallery Association and the Bulkey Valley Community Arts Council met with Smithers Town council and Area “A” director for the Regional District of Bulkey-Nechako Mark Fisher regarding their funding requests for 2018 last Tuesday.

In accordance with the grant in aid policy, the Town of Smithers and the Regional District of Bulkey-Nechako is required to provide base funding to these organizations on an annual basis. The Town covers approximately 73 per cent of the request while the District pays for the remaining 27 per cent.

Each organization can ask for additional funding for various projects or initiatives and it is up to the discretion of council and the District as to whether their request is approved.

The Smithers Gallery Association requested $32,805 in funding for 2018. Smithers would pay just under $24,000 while the District would be responsible for around $8,000.

The gallery said it had roughly 8,500 visitors this year, an increase of 35 per cent from 2016.

The library requested $313,079 in funding for 2018. The Town would pay for about $228,000 and the District would be responsible for around $84,000.

The library requested an additional $896 in funding to pay for training new employees. This amount is included in the total request of $313,079.

The library says they are projected to have over 75,000 visits and loan out over 100,000 items this year. Director of the Smithers Public Library Wendy Wright said the library has close to 71,000 visitors for 2017.

The library has an automated door counter it uses to track the number of visitors. Once a week they take the total number from the door counter and divide it by two (for people coming and and leaving) in order into get the actual amount of visitors.

Councillor Phil Brienesse asked during the meeting if one person were to enter and reenter multiple times if that would affect the library’s numbers, to which Wright acknowledged could happen.

“What’s also true is a lot people carry their babies and toddlers in when they’re coming in,” said Wright. “It might count some people twice and other people might not get counted at all. So I do have confidence in those numbers. I think they even out and are pretty accurate.”

Earlier this year the library received the B.C. Library Association’s Building Better Community Award.

“It’s validation,” Wright, told The Interior News earlier this in May.

“It’s confirmation that what we were doing with our gut instinct is what the greater library community recognizes as exactly what we should be doing and what libraries are all about these days.”

The museum requested $82,385 in funding for 2018. The Town would cover about $60,000 and the District would pay for the remaining amount, which is close to $22,000.

In addition to its base funding request, the museum is asking for $9,600 in special project funding so it can extend the contract of its archivist for an additional 12 weeks from Oct. 1 to Dec. 21, 2018. The archivist position is currently only funded until Sept. 30.

An archivist is an information professional who assesses, collects, organizes, preserves, maintains control over, and provides access to records and archives determined to have long-term value.

The records maintained by an archivist can consist of a variety of forms, including letters, diaries, logs, various other writings, official documents, sound and/or picture recordings, etc.

“We now can offer to the public for the first time a full look at all of the collection of documents that we hold,” said curator Kira Westby.

“So a researcher that wants to know, for example, about mining history in this region they can now look at our website and say ‘oh the museum has a collection of documents about that,’ and then set up an appointment to come view them and use them for their research.”

The museum said it had over 4,200 people visit in 2017 and directly assisted 50 researchers with their projects.

The Bulkey Valley Community Arts Council requested $5,000 in funding for 2018. This an increase of $1,000 from the previous year. Smithers will pay for about $3,600 and the District will cover the remaining amount, which is roughly $1,300.

The request for an increase in funding is a result of the BC Arts Council changing their matching local government grants formula.

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