This Century Art Gallery, Ltd.

Operational Vision and Business Plan - June 2006

History of the Gallery

The Gallery is a member-owned, 501(3)c organization, largely managed and operated by volunteers, which has existed for 47 years in Williamsburg, operating out of a series of Colonial Williamsburg buildings, for which it has paid only nominal rentals.

Both members and invited non-members may exhibit and offer for sale their work in a number of shows each year. Art instruction is offered on a fee basis to the community in classes taught by member artists. Since the Gallery does not have sufficient space for such classes, they have generally been presented in rented facilities around the community.

A number of outreach programs have been carried out over the years, and currently consist of programs focused on providing instruction in various arts areas for pre-school children, children in grades one through twelve, and adults.

There has generally been a focus on identifying and serving individuals who might not otherwise get a stimulating exposure to the arts, such as various categories of "at-risk" children, jail inmates, etc.

The Gallery is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors, and volunteer officers elected by the members, who serve two year terms. The gallery is open six hours a day, six days a week, and is largely staffed with a rotating cadre of volunteers who act as hosts and greeters. The Gallery has recently employed a part-time Business Manager to support its business functions.

The Board has adopted a mission statement which states: "[the Gallery] presents and promotes a broad spectrum of high quality arts and crafts through regular exhibits by visiting and member artists and provides lectures, workshops and classes for the enrichment and education of the community."

It is to the more effective achievement of this mission that this business plan is aimed.

Description of the Business

During recent years, the Gallery has been operating within a reasonable financial equilibrium, producing on average a modest surplus. However, Colonial Williamsburg has indicated a desire and intention to end the subsidy it has provided through furnishing inexpensive quarters. Consequently the Gallery is faced with the need to both acquire a new facility and augment its income in such a way as to make it feasible to occupy such a facility. At the same time, it has been recognized that merely reproducing the existing facility will not support the full extent of the community outreach activities to which the Gallery aspires.

The Gallery is preparing to undertake a capital campaign, and is simultaneously developing plans for acquiring a more suitable facility which will support a major increase in its outreach programs as well as its income generating activities. In combination the capital infusion and the augmented operating income is expected to make feasible the acquisition and operation of such a facility, which we believe will be critical to the success of the expansion of our outreach programs.

This Business Plan is aimed at explaining the changes in the outreach activities which are contemplated, as well as the changes in the operations of the Gallery which are expected and intended to generate the increases in net operating revenues which will be needed.

Expansion of Outreach: the new facility will not only provide space for expanded programming of art education classes throughout the year ( more than doubling the current offerings), it will also provide for greater collaboration and programs offered by the Virginian Museum of Fine Arts, for expanded art exhibition space, and for studio space of artists providing continual demonstrations and workshops. Below are a few examples of the new educational and outreach programs planned:

  • "Art After School" Programs - regular, varied art education programs during after-school hours for all levels of students. Also an art library resource for program participants and the public. Art field trips.

  • Ethnic Arts Programs - presentation of national, regional and local art from Hispanic, Native American and African-American communities, as well as demonstrations and workshops by the artists in conjunction with the displays.

  • Access for the handicapped - special art programming for the handicapped.

  • Art for Seniors - variety of tailored art programs for seniors, as well as specialized outreach programs and art therapy at adult day care and long term care health facilities.

  • Evening and Weekend Art ClaSSes for working adults - full programming of art education classes year-round.

  • Expanded space for monthly student artist exhibits as well as guest artist exhibits and demonstrations.

  • Expanded year-round professional art class offerings, including clay, sculpture. photography, jewelry, oils, acrylics, watercolor, pastels and mixed media.

  • Computerized art library for art history and art education classes.

  • In conjunction with area high schools, established school credit for advanced art students.

  • Week-long summer "art camps" for children.

  • "Art Exploration" weekends for children, adults and families.

  • "Master" workshops dedicated to professional artisans.

  • Classes targeted for young artists and students that focus on the business and marketing aspects of fine craft.

Obtaining grants from third parties has been and will continue to be closely tied to our outreach activities. Even though we have been carrying out a number of such activities out of our existing facility, an enlarged facility will provide the opportunity to attract new sources of grant money.

Revenue producing activities: The financial objective of the Gallery is to produce a sufficient surplus through the activities described below to enable it to carry out the wide array of outreach activities to which it is committed.

Gallery income is, and will continue to be derived from several sources. Below we describe these sources, and indicate the plans through which we expect to augment them in the context of a new facility.

  • Dues from members. There are approximately 475 membership units, divided between Individual members, with annual dues of $35, and Familv members, with annual dues of $50. There is no distinction between artist members, who may display and sell their work, and social members, who do not avail themselves of that privilege.
    Plans: No comprehensive program has heretofore taken place with the objective of explicitly increasing the membership of the Gallery. The Capital Campaign is expected to provide opportunities to introduce the Gallery to a wider audience and point out the benefits of membership. At the same time, a broader array of programs is expected to make membership even more attractive.
  • Commissions on the sale of art work displayed in the Gallery: Invited artists, who may be non-members, and member artists display their art work throughout the year in the Gallery's display space, which is open to the public six days a week. The public is invited to view the shows at all such times, at no charge. The commission to the Gallery, for sales of such displayed work, is 35%.
    Plans: It is expected that a new facility will provide increased display space for featured artists, member artists, and particularly craft artists, who have heretofore had available only very limited space. In addition, the Gallery contemplates charging a use fee for studio space.
  • Fee-based art instruction: Throughout its history, the Gallery has sponsored art classes for members of the community, generally taught by members of the Gallery. It has not been possible to use the Gallery's own facility, due to space limitations. Consequently, it has been necessary to rent space for all such classes, driving up the cost for attendees, and generally reducing the appeal of the classes.
    Plans: It is expected that, in a new facility, sufficient space will be allocated for conducting classes. Consequently, it is expected that we will be able to present a much broader array of offerings. It is expected that our income from such classes will, over a period of time, grow substantially.
  • Gift Shop: We have not, in the past, been able to offer a gift shop. Most museums have the ability to offer merchandise for sale which is related to their displayed art work. These include books, jewelry, cards, and prints among others.
    Plans: Our annual Holiday shows have in the past demonstrated that there is considerable demand for such items, and we expect to establish a gift shop, benefiting both our members and the public.
  • Rental of office space to other arts organizations: Heretofore, the space limitations of our existing facility have allowed us only to provide only the barest minimum of space for our own needs.
    Plans: As an arts center for the community, and particularly since we have established a reasonably full functioned business office, we believe it would be helpful to the other arts organizations in the area to offer them office space suitable to their needs. If it should be feasible in a new facility to do so, we will provide sufficient space to meet the needs of as many organizations as we can.
  • The Gallery as a meeting/reception venue: We have not had the capacity, in our present facility, to provide an attractive rental space to organizations and individuals seeking accommodations for receptions and meetings.
    Plans: We plan to seek opportunities to generate revenue from providing the venue for such events, from businesses, other non-profit organizations, and from individuals.

Financing Plans: We are currently in confidential discussions with the Williamsburg City Council, James City County and York County to determine the availability of government owned property that might be made available to a Williamsburg Area Community Art Center on a long term lease basis at a minimal cost. Should we be successful in this pursuit, it will enable us to commit the bulk of funds raised from a capital campaign to site preparation and construction of a building to meet our specific needs.

We believe that the time is right to conduct a feasibility study for the capital campaign, with the objective of determining an achievable fund-raising goal. In order to get the serious and focused interest of potential donors, we understand it will be essential to have identified and secured a property that meets our needs.