The document below, being circulated by the Kamloops Art Gallery in Canada, poses some incisive questions that many cultural institutions, not just museums in small cities, are facing. Input from curators on some of these issues would greatly benefit this study. Full text follows:

Dynamic Art Museums in Small Cities
The Board of Trustees of the Kamloops Art Gallery, a not-for-profit art museum located in the interior of British Columbia in western Canada, met recently to consider its future and to address our considerable responsibilities to various communities.

The Board hopes to develop a new paradigm, an ideal model that emphasizes the compatibility of popular success, scholarship and museological responsibilities that can be used to benchmark our future outcomes and achievements. It also intends to look at the vital and critical role of the “small city gallery” within the global environment.

To these ends, our Trustees would like to know about art galleries in similar small communities with a population between 50,000 and 150,000. It is inviting museum professionals and scholars to define what constitutes a successful small city art museum. How, for example, are historical/traditional and contemporary art programming integrated? What are the inherent responsibilities that come with being recognized as a rigorous institution committed to research and scholarship? What is the potential of small art museums as learning hubs, especially given the opportunities available through the use of new technologies? And lastly, the Board is trying to determine how art museums make a difference in their own immediate and diverse communities and how success is defined in these terms.

The first part of this multi-faceted project is to compile a list of small-city art galleries world-wide that are recognized as leaders in their field. The next step is to refine this list and prepare case studies of 20 to 25 of these institutions for inclusion in a publication about the challenges and possibilities facing the small city gallery. We would appreciate receiving your opinion on the most outstanding galleries based on the objectives of the study outlined in this email. Please forward them to jlmb @ kag.bc.ca

We would also appreciate if you would take the time to forward this inquiry to your email list of colleagues in order to expand the search for outstanding art galleries in small cities. Please include your full name, title and work affiliation for reference and follow-up.

Thank you for your time.
Jann LM Bailey
Executive Director, Kamloops Art Gallery
101-465 Victoria Street, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada V2C 2A9
t 250 3772412 / f 250 828 0662

[Via Christine Castle, on behalf of Jann Bailey. Please respond to her directly at jlmb @ kag.bc.ca. Anything posted in the comments will also be forwarded to Jann.]

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