It is our pleasure to announce that our agreements with the City of Windsor regarding the purchase of our building have been finally approved following a unanimous vote by City Council on December 3, 2012. As many of you already know, the Art Gallery of Windsor has been going through a period of great change and it has also faced considerable ongoing financial challenges over the past decade in owning and operating the 401 Riverside Drive West facility.
The vote last evening means that we will be transferring ownership of the building to the City of Windsor effective January 4, 2013. The agreement significantly enhances financial stability for the Gallery and allows us to move forward in our mission to continue providing the city with a Canadian Heritage designated ‘Category A' art gallery that we can all be proud of. With a 49-year gratis lease agreement free of rising utility cost and capital expenses, the AGW will remain at 401 Riverside Drive West as a tenant on the second and third floors and will move forward on a new operating model. We will remain an autonomous, separately-governed charitable organization with our own Board of Directors, core staff and art collection. The AGW Foundation will also remain a separate charitable organization pursuing its purpose of supporting the Gallery in legacy planning and we look forward to continuing our work with the AGW Foundation.
The AGW Board and Management are confident that this transaction will give the Gallery a solid and renewed future concentrating on our core mission of programming excellence and promoting the art experience. The AGW will be part of the new downtown art and recreational core as we have long advocated for when we relocated here in 2001. The proposal means many changes for the AGW. In the weeks leading up to the start of 2013, we will be transitioning the AGW to our new operating model and initiating the process of recalling selected staff into a new organizational structure focusing on our core mission. As you know, we have already implemented many difficult Board decisions to position the Gallery strongly for this opportunity. Our vision going forward is to focus the Gallery on a dynamic exhibition program and develop new and renewed educational and publishing initiatives. The President of the AGW Board and its trustees are committed to supporting the staff in realizing these goals.
Catharine Mastin, PhD