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'Making good things happen'

[Agnes Etherington Art Centre]
The Agnes Etherington Art Centre recently received funding from the City of Kingston as well as through an anonymous gift. (Supplied Photo)

Staff and supporters of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (‘the Agnes’) are celebrating news that the gallery has been awarded a significant grant and that it is the recipient of an anonymous gift, both of which will directly support its operations and programming.

As well as a $75,000 Operating Grant from the City of Kingston Arts Fund (CKAF), the gallery has been given an anonymous gift through the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area (CFKA).

“It’s a real vote of confidence,” says director Jan Allen. “The CKAF grant is a substantial one within the city’s terms. It not only allows us to accomplish great things – it’s an important piece of the funding puzzle, because we can leverage the city’s support for support from other granting bodies, foundations and other levels of government.” 

As Ms. Allen explains, while Queen’s provides the gallery’s facilities and a portion of its funds, the Agnes is also heavily reliant on outside sources of money, including government grants.

“We are a bit unusual in that we are not just a university gallery,” she explains. “We are also the public art museum for the region, which was, in fact, Agnes Etherington’s intention when she bequeathed her home to the university. She wanted it to be used as both an art centre for Queen’s and for the Kingston community.”

Ms. Allen says that as a result the Agnes, which employs 10 full-time and three part-time staff, as well as a number of students who work in casual positions, serves both the university and Kingston communities equally.

“Attendance is really split between Queen’s and non-Queen’s people,” she explains. “And in fact, that’s an important aspect of our work, because we are a meeting place between the university and all its exciting assets, and a lively community. The Agnes is a real point of integration.” 

The Agnes’ staff are currently preparing for a busy fall season which will include exhibitions of contemporary works by Vancouver-based artist in residence Judy Radul and local artist Ulrich Panzer, Canadian historical works from the Hart House Collection at the University of Toronto, paintings by past winners of The Kingston Prize, and an exhibit of the early work of Ojibwe artist Carl Beam. As well as community programming including artist talks and other public programs, the gallery will introduce its new ArtZone initiative, a free drop-in after-school program for youth.

“Any funding we get is vital because it allows us to do what we do for the community,” says Ms. Allen. “It allows us to make good things happen.”

For more information about the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, visit their website.