by Danielle Mario
The Fifth Parallel Gallery will see its funding doubled after a motion passed at the annual U of R Students’ Union Annual General Meeting.
The gallery was first on the docket at the Oct. 22 AGM in The Lazy Owl, and fourth year print-making student, Michelle Brownridge, made the motion to raise the 50 cents per full-time student and 25 cents per part-time student to $1 and 50 cents, respectively. The increase will amount to about $10,100 per semester.
The first gallery board meeting after the AGM began with cheers on Oct. 28 in the back room of the gallery. The members discussed how to use the funding while several people viewed a newly erected exhibit around the corner.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Rachel Ladlow, a fourth year painting student who is currently exhibiting her work at the gallery. “The space has been open since 1996 and there’s no record of funding increase since then.”
"It's exciting to think about how we can improve our space for our exhibitors, for our volunteers, and for the larger community as a whole."
The gallery has been a staple cavern since 1997, when the Fine Arts Faculty moved from the old Normal School on College Street to the heart of the Riddell Centre.
Artwork in the space is chosen via exhibition proposals from students or artists from outside the university, which are reviewed by the gallery’s executive board. Exhibits usually change every two weeks.
Ladlow said that the new money will go towards updating computer software, publicity, exhibition and reception costs, and general gallery maintenance. They are also considering putting in a security system, and better lighting.
John Hampton, who recently convocated with a visual arts degree, gained a lot of exhibition experience in the Fifth Parallel. He said that a typical show costs about $100 for set-up.
“This gallery runs at about a hundredth of the cost of any gallery its size,” he said. “and you have to consider that we have a lot of traffic coming through this place.”
Faculty of Arts student Steve Hahn doesn’t frequent the gallery, but he is not opposed to the funding increase.
“It’s only a dollar. It’s no big deal,” he said. “I guess some people might see that dollar as a lot, but we’re only talking about an increase to our tuition of fifty cents. I don’t think that’s a big enough change to constitute complaints.”
The gallery board’s first funding effort was at the AGM because it is their sole funding source to begin with, said Brownridge.
At the meeting, she heard many suggestiongs about other avenues of funding, such as private funding or a donation box.
“We discussed all that, but most of the people that come through the space are students and they are already paying money for us to be here,” she said. “It would feel like we’re charging twice.”
Private funding or sponsorship also seemed like a last resort, according to Jessa Hill, a third year print-making student.
“I think, as soon as you get private funding, you give away some of the ownership, and we really take pride in the fact that it’s a student-run gallery,” she said.
The current exhibit is titled Interim, and features many students’ works. The name was chosen to signify the evolution of a students’ art through study.
With the additional funding, Ladlow said that the evolution will be a little easier, and the student body can appreciate an improved experience.
“It makes the Riddell Centre more than a food court,” said Ladlow. “It allows people to engage with ideas and art that’s being made by their peers. It’s not hot-shot artists with elitist ideas.”