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Delta Arts Council to play on

Leases terminated at four buildings operated by group, but groups will rent on as-needed basis.
The Delta Arts Council's leases have been terminated at its four venues

Despite losing full time occupancy of its venues, the curtain is not coming down on the Delta Arts Council.
DAC president Dave Stevens said plans are in the works for the mostly volunteer organization to regroup and set up new events after Delta Council voted Monday (Feb. 21) to terminate the leases on the four municipally owned buildings the arts council operated out of in North and South Delta.Delta had given the DAC a year's worth of free rent after a withdrawal of provincial gaming grants left it short on funds."When that happened in August of 2009 we lost $50,000 or about one sixth of our funding," Stevens said.

Faced with the shortfall, the DAC attempted to pare down its operations as Delta granted a one-year free rental of the four buildings which expired in January 2010.Unable to reorganize and secure adequate funding to keep the four venues open under lease arrangements—The Tsawwassen Arts Centre, The Art Corner Gallery and Gift Shop in the Ladner Pioneer Library, and the Firehall Centre for the Arts and artSpace in North Delta—the DAC will now have to rent the buildings on an as-needed basis.That has put added importance on the fact each event must stand on its own financially, something not always possible for emerging shows featuring fledgling performers and artists.Previously, unprofitable events and shows were absorbed by the council's overall operating budget.
Stevens said those types of events often require time to develop an audience and the possible loss of opportunities such as the Open Mic series limits the chance for performers to gain valuable experience to hone their craft."We are very appreciative of all what the city (Delta Municipality) has done for us, but we would like to see the performing arts and arts in general receive more support," he said.Hampering the restructuring of the DAC during the year of free access to Delta's buildings was the loss of the majority of the council's volunteer executive."We just weren't able to regroup in the time given us," Stevens said.Now, the DAC executive is in the process of negotiating with the municipality to sell off its remaining assets in the four venues—items such as sound and lighting systems and a pair of grand pianos.