Message from the Chair and Director

This spring, the Art Gallery of Peterborough (AGP) senior team and Board of Directors embarked on a strategic planning process. We are a dedicated group of community volunteers and staff that have accepted the responsibility of the governance and stewardship of the AGP. We believe that art is a cornerstone of community creativity and development. We are proud to be a part of an organization that nurtures local artists and has national recognition for its curation, collection, and programming.

From the outset, our board believed it was essential for us to gather input directly from stakeholders. It was especially important that our strategic plan reflected the needs of our community. So we engaged visitors and artists, volunteers, partners and staff, and as many as possible right across the community. We asked the pertinent questions: How are we doing? What do we do well? What could we improve upon? Do the community and our partners need to know more about us and what we do?

The goal was to develop a five-year strategic plan based upon real engagement. Throughout the planning process, we undertook extensive engagement, and the community offered great interest and feedback that have added valuable insight to our future direction. We then assessed our own organization’s capacities and opportunities and, together, mapped out five new strategic directions to pursue.

We are proud of the outcome and excited about our future — one that will see education, engagement, and appreciation of art across our community. We thank everyone that took the time to participate, share ideas and give suggestions.

Sincerely,

Siobhan Tremblay, Board Chair Celeste Scopelites, Director

Executive Summary

Following a rigorous process that engaged stakeholders, staff and public, the Board of Directors of the Art Gallery of Peterborough has established the following five strategic directions.

  1. Reinforce our Foundation
  2. Engage our Audience
  3. Tell our Story
  4. Grow our Revenue
  5. Strengthen our Capacity

These strategic directions will serve to focus our work over the next five years. They are driven by our mission, vision and values, and speak directly to the challenges and opportunities before us. The Board believes these directions signal to all stakeholders invested in the success of our art gallery that this organization is ready and able to meet its future head on. The spirit in which the AGP was founded — to offer visual art experiences and explorations to stimulate and expand public perception of art as a part of our life and community — is alive and well in these new directions. Based on the prominent role of the gallery in our community, this plan aims to lay the groundwork for establishing a facility that will ultimately support the AGP in meeting its mission.

These five directions build upon our successes to date. They envision a future for the AGP that is built on strong community engagement, partnerships, and support.

Our strategy is to maintain our firm and unwavering commitment to showing local, regional and national contemporary art. Our new directions are generous in spirit, focused on community involvement and broadening the awareness of art and its importance to our history and culture — which, we know, is a reflection of the Peterborough region itself.

AGP Today

We are a non-profit gallery with a forty year history of groundbreaking exhibitions and programs. Located in the heart of the city of Peterborough, we are rooted in the Kawartha region yet reach across the nation to present and collect contemporary Canadian art. We make significant contributions to a local culture that is already rich and diverse with talented artists. We develop programs that support our exhibitions and encourage discourse through lectures, workshops, and publications. Our curatorial choices are informed by current practices, art theory and criticism and guided by a commitment to presenting work by diverse artists. The Permanent Collection now numbers over 1,700 artworks including contemporary and historical paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, installations, photographs and mixed media works, both Canadian and international in origin.

From children’s camps to Family Sundays, artist talks and adult workshops to the Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour, we engage our community in a variety of cultural experiences in the visual arts. The Gallery Shop offers a diverse selection of truly one-of-a-kind works in ceramics, glass, jewellery and more. We feature fine art and craft by regional makers, unique items that highlight the best in Canadian design, and an inspired children’s section.

In 2011 we completed a Functional Analysis, followed by a Feasibility Study in 2014. The outcomes of this study clearly indicated the need for an expanded facility to better meet the demands of our community and the current standards for a public institution. This observation continued to be echoed in the stakeholders session held as part of the strategic planning process.

Our Strategic Directions

The Art Gallery of Peterborough is committing to a five-year strategic plan. As such, the directions are broad and oriented to the future. This allows the organization to respond and adapt as circumstances change over the years. The directions offer a framework for the development of annual operational plans with measurable goals and objectives. These annual plans (not included as part of this document) will make the strategic directions operational.

The AGP is a community-focused organization that strives to present a variety of visual art experiences and explorations to stimulate and expand public perception of art as a part of our life and community.

It has become clear through our day-to-day work, and through our extensive stakeholder engagement, that the current gallery space is too limited; it is an inherent risk to the AGP’s ability to meet the demands of our visitors and artists and ultimately our ability to fulfill our mandate. As we embark on this five (5) year strategic plan, we will lay the groundwork necessary for establishing a new facility within the next ten (10) years. We will build this foundation through our strategic directions, our annual plans, and ultimately by increasing engagement in our community.

Reinforce our Foundation

Art is who we are — it is the reason we are here. Art is our passion and we strive to share it, make it, and celebrate it with our community. In order to continue educating and engaging others in appreciating many forms of art, we commit to reinforcing our focus and strengthening our mandate to present contemporary visual art by artists from the region and across the nation. We will showcase the Permanent Collection, curate and exhibit local artists, and engage our community through art.

Our Commitments

Over the next five years, we commit to “Reinforce our Foundation” by:

  • Serving the regional community;
  • Creating opportunities for artists to showcase their work locally, regionally, and nationally;
  • Further developing meaningful visual art experiences while offering innovative educational programs.

Engage our Audience

In order to offer programming and exhibit art for broad audiences, we understand that community engagement is key. We plan to re-energize the community’s appetite for visual art, diversify the art experience, and expand the audiences we reach. We aim to be the creative “hub” for the region.

Our Commitments

Over the next five years, we commit to “Engage our Audience” by:

  • Involving the community through effective communications and outreach;
  • Empowering the community through education and opportunities for art exploration;
  • Offering a diverse range of engagement opportunities.

Tell Our Story

We have a strong community history and it’s time to celebrate our story. We need to increase awareness about the AGP, our Permanent Collection, our great programs and artists. Ultimately, we need to amplify our reputation.

Our Commitments

Over the next five years, we commit to “Tell our Story” by:

  • Actively sharing the impact of our exhibitions, programs and activities;
  • Building a stronger online presence;
  • Finding new ways to collaborate and form partnerships in our community.

Grow our Revenue

As we work towards a capital project to expand and renew our gallery, we must create a stronger environment for philanthropy and investment. We must be thoughtful in our approach and strategic in our implementation in order to effectively leverage the funds necessary for sustainable growth.

Our Commitments

Over the next five years, we commit to “Grow our Revenue” by:

  • Seeking ways to diversify revenue streams that will ensure the continuity of valued programs and services;
  • Establishing a stronger membership base by offering clear benefits and exploring innovative means of recruiting new members;
  • Foster government relations and evolve fundraising strategies.

Strengthen our Capacity

To strengthen our capacity to sustain the high standards of exhibitions and programming, the gallery must reinforce effective governance and strong relationships with funders, partners and sponsors, enhancing our ability to meet our mandate.

Our Commitments

Over the next five years, we commit to “Strengthen our Capacity” by:

  • Maintaining a positive culture through supportive initiatives and strong internal communications;
  • Properly planning for board succession, ensuring the necessary skill sets are addressed for future plans;
  • Developing a dedicated volunteer base with proper training and recognition;
  • Establishing strategic partnerships that will add value to educational programming and exhibitions.

Next Steps

Our new strategic directions provide the AGP with focus and a clear framework to drive change and progress.
The Board has committed to the following next steps:

  • Goals and objectives will be developed that align and drive each strategic direction;
  • A first year goal package with targets and measurements will be set and developed with management;
  • A board-level balanced scorecard will be developed to track progress towards the targets;
  • The strategic directions will be communicated internally and externally; and,
  • Progress on the directions will be reviewed and strategies amended as the situations and circumstances change over the next five years.

Conclusion

The Board of Directors and management are both proud of the AGP’s successes to date. Our new strategic directions will help to keep us focused on improving everything we do for visitors and for art appreciation in our region.

We thank all those who lent their voices by contributing ideas, suggestions and feedback. We have listened.

The Board of Directors looks forward to reporting on our progress over time, and to a strong track record of performance over the next five years.

Appendix 1: About the Art Gallery of Peterborough

Our History & Permanent Collection

The Committee for an Art Gallery in Peterborough formed in 1973, and was comprised of members of the University Women’s Club of Peterborough (now CFUW), the Women’s Art Association of Peterborough as well as other community members. Before the building was acquired, the collection was housed at the Peterborough Centennial Museum & Archives, with exhibitions presented at the Library.

Incorporated in 1974, the AGP accepted a donation of a historic Georgian House and surrounding grounds from the City of Peterborough in 1977. The AGP’s Board of Directors and volunteers raised funds for the construction of an adjacent gallery space, which opened in June 1979.

Our Permanent Collection has been central to our history. From the large gift of European and Canadian painting donated by the Teacher’s College, to the first purchase by our Volunteer Committee in 1977, we continue to collect works that reflect our exhibition history, artists connected to the region and contemporary art practices in Canada. Through acquisitions and donations, the Permanent Collection now numbers over 1,700 works, including contemporary and historical paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs, mixed media works, both Canadian and international in origin. We collect from our exhibitions and also consider donations offered by artists and collectors. We now consider our Collection to be a well rounded archive of the visual art activity of this region as well as a reflection of our exhibition history and contribution to the broader discourse within the field.

In 1986 the AGP was designated by the Department of Canadian Heritage to be a Category A Collecting Institution. This designation protects important objects of Canadian Cultural Property by ensuring they are placed within organizations that can steward them properly. The AGP is required to meet the environmental and care standards necessary to preserve works long-term, and, that it is entrusted to make those works available to the public through exhibitions, programming or research.

In 2015 replacement of the HVAC systems and major renovation of the collection storage area ensured that we were able to maintain our Category A status. This status is critical to attracting important donations that we could not otherwise collect, enabling us to continue to strengthen the diversity and breadth of the AGP’s Permanent Collection.

During this facility renovation, the collection was moved offsite to a fine art storage facility. We took advantage of this opportunity to digitize the collection, greatly improving our ability to access these works for research and exhibition development.

Partnership with the City of Peterborough

At the request of the AGP Board of Directors, the Gallery and the City of Peterborough entered into discussions to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize their relationship. The goal was to offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain staff, to create effective administrative services and to improve maintenance of the Gallery facility.

In 2000 City Council invited the AGP to join the City’s Culture and Heritage Division, together with the Peterborough Museum and Archives and the Peterborough Public Library. Gallery Staff became City employees with the facility owned by the City of Peterborough.

The AGP Board of Directors remains the institution’s governing authority as an independent Board of this charitable institution incorporated in 1974. The Board oversees the mandate of the organization and the Permanent Collection, which is held in public trust.

The partnership offers the AGP a stable environment which allows the development of quality exhibitions and programs. The AGP also receives operating funding from both the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts and is positioned to apply for project grants from a number of different sources. The AGP Board and their committees continue to fundraise and recruit volunteers to help meet the AGP’s artistic and budgetary goals.

This unique partnership has meant that both the Gallery and the City benefit from increased opportunities for program delivery and sharing of resources. It also ensures that the Art Gallery’s exhibitions, the Permanent Collection and education programs continue to enrich the community.

Facility

The gallery occupies a landmark location in Del Crary Park on the shores of Little Lake, edging downtown Peterborough. Our facility features a Georgian House built in 1890 that is linked to an extension built in 1979, totaling an 11,000 square foot climate controlled structure. It was built to the standards of the time with a system of ramps providing access for those with disabilities to the three floors of gallery and programming space.

Feature exhibitions are housed in the main gallery. The lower, middle and upper ramps total 240 feet of running wall space, accommodating additional exhibitions from the Permanent Collection and/or a mix of regional, national, and emerging artists. The Georgian House contains the education studio, reference library/print room, administrative offices, Gallery Shop and a meeting room.

In spring 2014 we experienced a series of critical facility issues which caused us to reschedule and cancel a number of exhibitions. These issues were resolved by fall 2015. The Facility Upgrade Project was instigated by the need to replace the HVAC systems and improve our environment control systems. Additional upgrades included asbestos remediation, improvement of Life Safety and security systems, reorganization of the collection and installation of new art storage fixtures and partial LED lighting system.

These improvements will assist us with maintaining our Category A collecting status, and have improved our ability to manage exhibitions and our Permanent Collection.

Appendix 2: Overview of Planning Process

As governors and stewards of the organization, the AGP Board of Directors commissioned the strategic planning process. The planning scope was set to lay out the organization’s priorities and position it to evolve in its pursuit of meeting the arts and cultural needs of the community. In order to effectively draw stakeholder input, ensure confidentiality of responses and encourage all opinions and views, through a tendering process, the Board engaged the services of an independent firm to facilitate the strategic planning process. The process took place from February to June 2016.

Board Strategic Planning Retreat

The Board of Directors met on May 7th, 2016 for a strategic planning retreat. Through a series of presentations and facilitated discussions, the strategic issues, data, financial picture, and overall environmental situation was identified. The key issues were mapped along with the opportunities and challenges that needed to be addressed in the new strategic plan.

The Board was then able to distill the information collected from the focus groups and from the online survey and apply this to the earlier evidence. Together, themes emerged.

Finally, the day culminated in the unanimous agreement of five draft strategic directions. Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder Engagement

The AGP saw meaningful stakeholder engagement as a critical early step in the development of an inspiring and practical strategic plan. Before identifying the strategic priorities, the Board reached out to capture and engage the voices of the AGP’s community of stakeholders. Their feedback served to strengthen and shape the AGP’s future direction. In doing so, the AGP is ensuring that this strategic plan is one that has a solid base, one informed by experience, evidence, and the broadest-held perceptions.

The online survey and the in-person focus group sessions had two general purposes:

  • To engage stakeholders by gathering input, ideas, suggestions and including them in the planning process directly and in a meaningful way
  • To educate stakeholders about the work of AGP and generally promote the mission and vision to the community (as a positive legacy of the planning process)

Who did the AGP reach out to, and how?

A community-wide survey was circulated and promoted through email, social media, and hardcopies were distributed to members through the mail. We boosted our social media posts to increase overall reach. This survey was open to all stakeholder groups, as well as any interested community members. The survey was open for two weeks, from April 4th to April 18th, 2016 resulting in a total of 305 individuals responding. Focus groups were held between April 5th and 28th, providing an opportunity to promote the survey further. A total of 51 participants engaged in the process through focus groups.

Throughout the six sessions, it was clear that the AGP is appreciated, a valued partner, and an asset in the community. The AGP team is supportive of the local art community, and the organization is valued for the great collection it houses.

Each of the six stakeholder engagement focus groups spoke to similar themes, the most consistent being the valued collection and exhibitions; offered programs and services; available facilities; and, enhancing outreach to build profile in the community.

In-person Focus Groups April 5th, April 8th, April 12th, April 14th, and April 28th

  • One Volunteer and Local Artist Engagement Session (April 5th, 2016 – 5 participants)
  • One Staff Engagement Session (April 8th, 2016 – 5 participants)
  • One Participatory Community Engagement Session (April 12th, 2016 – 26 participants)
  • One City Management Engagement Session (April 14th, 2016 – 2 participants)
  • One ACHAC Committee Meeting (April 14th, 2016 – 10 participants)
  • One City Council Engagement Session (April 28th, 2016 – 3 participants)

A summary of the stakeholder engagement can be found in Appendix 3.

Appendix 3: Results of Stakeholder Engagement Sessions

The following is a summary of the six stakeholder engagement focus groups:

Artists/Volunteers

Overall, the volunteers and artists demonstrated strong support for the AGP, its programs and services. The AGP is viewed as welcoming and collaborative.

The group shared appreciation for the AGP team. Their dedication creates an inviting and inclusive environment.

Themes

Collection: Appreciation for a world renowned collection, demonstrated a want to showcase more prominently.

Support Artists: Values support of regional artists through exhibits and space in the collection, suggests exploring newer artists and various types of art.

Facility: Beautiful site, challenges with available space for displaying art, opportunities to be creative with use of space (outdoors) and “virtual exhibits” online.

Outreach: Suggests more engagement with community through collaboration, leveraging existing events such as Canada Day. Enhancing website and leveraging social media to build awareness about AGP.

Volunteers/Staff: Volunteerism has changed significantly, and the AGP may be better off with more staff, understanding the limited resources.

Fundraising/Membership: Challenges with Governance/City for potential fundraising. Exploring corporate membership options may be an opportunity. Need to build profile in order to become fundraising ready and to attract new members.

Staff

Staff appreciates working for AGP. They value the art and curation; feel that having an accessible environment is important in supporting arts and culture. They appreciate the security and stability of employment with the City.

Themes

Success: Energized by the success of exhibits, programs, and services. Appreciate when visitors are engaged.

Workplace: Appreciate stability of employment with City, interest in stronger internal communication and team support. Many ideas with limited capacity.

Facility: Opportunities exist to rent and generate revenue, but space has limitations such as accessible washrooms, available spaces, and technology. Would like to double space for hosting and education.

Fundraising: Strong interest in exploring fundraising, philanthropy, and endowments opportunities to increase resources for program delivery and enhancing profile. Opportunity to collaborate with Board.

Outreach: Enhancing profile and engaging community is a priority. Limited resources make outreach challenging. Ideally new staff for marketing and communications to help reach potential.

Community Engagement

Our approach to Community Engagement was different than the standard focus group. This well attended and highly participatory event offered an opportunity for the community to be creative and offer feedback to the AGP. The session encouraged great discussion and creativity in offering perspectives. The AGP invited the community as a whole through email, social media, and the City of Peterborough website.

Overall, the group was positive and energized by the discussion. They were in strong support of, and valued, the AGP. The Gallery is viewed as the cultural hub, a place people can come to share ideas. The community appreciates the caliber and range of art being displayed, as well as the flexibility of the AGP. There was great discussion regarding strengths and opportunities, as well as creative ideas for the future direction of the Art Gallery.

Themes

Programs and Services: The quality of programming, treatment of artists, education, gallery shop, and free admission are to be celebrated.

Collection: Highly valued collection, and acquisitions. Would like to see more ways to showcase. Important to plan for digital acquisitions and assets.

Facility: Outgrown physical space in order to facilitate more programming, exhibitions, and external engagement.

Outreach: Prioritize community engagement and enhance profile in the region to attract more people to the AGP and open opportunities for fundraising.

Opportunities: Creative ideas for driving community engagement – open studio, café, movie theatre, jazz nights.

City of Peterborough: Community Services, Arts Culture and Heritage
The discussion was positive. The City of Peterborough supports the AGP and its programming to stimulate arts
and culture in the region.

Themes

Community Engagement: Important to continue engagement with other community organizations to represent arts and culture in region. Encouraged the AGP to exhibit art that speaks to a broader community on an occasional basis. Support regional artists at various levels.

Facility: Understands constraints of existing facility and believes recent upgrades will support the AGP needs for time being. Given priorities in the City for capital projects in near future, encourages future planning.

Profile: Important to build reputation and enhance overall profile in community to attract more visitors, and in preparation for growth, and future fundraising campaigns.

Partnerships: Seek meaningful opportunities with organizations and events in the region to cross promote and leverage local talent.

Plan Ahead: In building profile and stronger partnerships, properly plan and position the AGP for growth with the new Council. Be prepared with a strategy that will warrant City to prioritize the AGP in future capital plans.

Arts, Culture, and Heritage Advisory Committee (ACHAC)

The group was very supportive and passionate about the AGP and the Collection. They were supportive of the staff and appreciative of the programs and services offered by the Art Gallery of Peterborough.

Themes

Accessibility: Very important to ensure AGP is fully accessible for physical needs as well as economically.

Facility: Location is lovely, but not positioned to encourage traffic through AGP. Facility has limitations for exhibitions and programming.

Collection: Highly valued collection with limited opportunities to showcase its full breadth. Viewed as a hidden asset.

Outreach: Community engagement is a priority to increase traffic, enhance profile, and properly position for future philanthropy. Partnerships and leveraging existing events in community will vastly improve regional profile.

City of Peterborough Councillors

The final engagement session took place on April 28th with the City of Peterborough Council with a total of 3 participants.

Themes

Location/Physical Space: The current location is beautiful; however, visibility may be a concern. It is important for planning and engagement with the City to prepare for future plans of expansion. Explore opportunities for using space outside, and bringing art into the community.

Outreach programs: Exploring partnerships with established events and offering pop-up displays throughout the City could offer great exposure and opportunities for cross promotion. The AGP is encouraged to open dialogue with City regarding future plans.

Operations: In engaging more with the City Council moving forward, it is of interest to learn more about measurable outcomes at AGP.

Online Survey Summary

Live from: April 4 – 18th, 2016
Total Responses: 305
Avg. Completion time: 24:27

  • 44.2% of respondents are visitors or interested community members
  • 21.7% of respondents are artists
  • 62% have visited the AGP in the last 6 months.
  • 89.9% expressed that AGP is “Very Important” and “Important” to Arts and Culture in the region.
  • The most important roles of the Art Gallery of Peterborough:
    • 71.4% – “Stimulating, promoting, and expanding local Arts and Culture”
    • 68.4% – “Showcasing regional artists”
    • 34.6% – “Showcasing national artists”
    • 32% – “Offering education through lectures and workshops”
  • Overall satisfaction rate of Programs and Services
    • 72.1% – “Very Satisfied” and “Satisfied” with Gallery Shop
    • 71.5% – “Very Satisfied” and “Satisfied” with Exhibitions
    • 53.8% – “Very Satisfied” and “Satisfied” with Artist and Curator Talks
    • 41.8% – “Very Satisfied” and “Satisfied” with Adult Art Classes

Appendix 4: Mission, and Vision

Mission:

As an exhibition venue with educational programs, the AGP will present a variety of visual art experiences and explorations to stimulate and expand public perception of art as a part of their life and community

Vision:

A gathering place that engages the community and promotes the arts as a cornerstone of community creativity and development.

Appendix 5: Board of Directors, June 2016 and AGP Management

  • Siobhan Tremblay, President
  • Rob Kingston, Vice-President
  • Peter Frood, Treasurer
  • Pauline Sandys, Secretary
  • Adam Charlton, Trustee
  • Anne Cordon, Trustee
  • Fran Fearnley, Trustee
  • Moira Howes, Trustee
  • Dave Miller, Trustee
  • Carla Rinaldo, Trustee
  • Kim Wood, Trustee
  • Diane Therrien,
    City of Peterborough Council Representative
  • Celeste Scopelites, Director
  • Fynn Leitch, Curator