Dear Arts Supporters:
I am writing to bring you up to date on the developments regarding the issue of ownership of the Guild facility. As you will recall, the PEI Council of the Arts (PEICA) sought input on this matter from PEICA members, the arts community, arts supporters and the public at large. We encouraged people to write us with their concerns and ideas, and we held a public meeting on this issue on February 22, 2011.
Since that date, we have been sorting through written submissions and the ideas brought forward at the public meeting. Once we distilled this information, we then researched various alternatives offered. At as part of these investigations, we met with numerous leaders in various departments and agencies. It was with these ideas from the community, and with new information from these agencies, that an sound and reasonable alternative to transferring the ownership of the facility was found.
Last week, all of the information found on transfer options, a co-op model, and a lease was presented to both the Boards of the PEICA and Ars Longa at a joint meeting.
Based on the suggestions from the arts community and the viability and feasibility of various options, the two Boards decided on a course change: to abandon the idea of a transfer of ownership and to revisit a long-term lease agreement between Ars Longa (the leaser) and the PEICA (the owner), an option deemed to be eligible by both Heritage Canada and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
Let me take a moment to discuss, briefly, the idea of a cooperative. While the coop model is an exciting model on its surface, it suffers from serious difficulties when it comes to eligibility and accessing the specific programs needed to repair this building. After meeting with Heritage Canada, ACOA, the PEI Cooperative Association, as well as speaking with several regional cooperatives, we have determined that the disadvantages far outweigh any benefits the model could offer at this time, particularly when the long-term lease option, mentioned above, solves all the eligibility problems and does not involve any change to the ownership model.
The idea of a long-term lease is not a new one. It was originally explored by the Board of Directors six years ago at the time of the creation of the Memorandum of Understanding; however, at that time, we learned it was not an option that potential federal funders would agree to support. This position has changed, and these funders are now prepared to entertain such an agreement.
There are several benefits to the long-term lease option: it allows the PEICA retains ownership of the building, which was a major concern brought forward by members of the arts community; it allows Ars Longa to apply for funds to make seriously-needed repairs to the building; and it is allowed for under the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the PEICA, the City of Charlottetown and the Province of PEI, which the PEICA membership read, discussed and voted for in March of 2003.
The PEICA staff is currently drafting a tentative lease agreement with legal assistance, which will then be presented to both Boards for approval and shared with federal funders like ACOA. Once these preliminary steps are completed, the PEICA Board will hold an informational meeting for PEICA members, the arts community, arts supporters and the public at large. This meeting will be held on June 21, 2011. Where appropriate, community concerns will be addressed in the lease; however, a lease is not a perfect vehicle for such things. As a result, we will keep those concerns not appropriate for a lease for use in our future discussions with our MOU partners, when that MOU comes under review in the future.
In the meantime, please feel free to share your thoughts on the matter with me at email@example.com.
In closing, I would like to thank each and every person who attended the public meeting and who took the time to share their thoughts via email. This entire process is proving to be an excellent example of how this community can hear a controversial idea, embrace the idea of discussion and feedback, and see real, meaningful responses and results.
Dr. Greg Doran
Chair, PEICA Board of Directors
Ars Longa (“the Guild”) is a non-profit organization created in 2004 by Memorandum of Understanding between the PEI Council of the Arts, the City of Charlottetown, and the Province of PEI to take over the management of “the Arts Guild” facility after the facility had fallen into crisis in 2003/2004. Each partner appoints two members to a six-person Board of Directors.
Ars Longa has been successfully managing the building for the past seven years.
You can visit the Ars Longa/Guild web site here: http://www.theguildpei.com/index.php
Ars Longa MOU that created the non-profit known as "the Guild" - ars-longa-mou.pdf
Ars Longa ("The Guild") Letter Patent - ars-longa-letters-patent.pdf
Ars Longa ("The Guild") Schedule A (refered to in letters patent) - schedule-a.pdf
Ars Longa Bylaws - ars-longa-bylaws.pdf
Also, please find below a complete building assessment done in 2006 then updated in 2009.
If you have thoughts on this matter, we are interested in hearing from you. Please feel free to send an email message to our Chair, Dr. Greg Doran, at firstname.lastname@example.org
It's important to remember that only members of the PEI Council of the Arts will be able to vote in matter such as this. To become a member, or renew an expired membership, please see the "Membership" section. You'll find the link in the navigation bar at the top of the page or just follow this link.