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Tuesday November 27th, 2012

Posted at 6:16pm

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Employees of the Art Gallery of Windsor, who are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, say that the gallery could close unless Windsor City Council agrees to purchase the gallery building at their meeting Monday night.

Council will debate a proposal to purchase the building for up to 2.5 million dollars, the Art Gallery of  Windsor would then enter into a lease with the city for $1.00 per year for the second and third floor space, and the mezzanine area. The city will also cut off its annual grant of $450,000 to the gallery.

“We have been given layoff notices, and are told that unless municipal council agrees with a proposal to purchase the Gallery’s physical space, Windsor could lose this important cultural venue in the New Year,” said Larry Howe, Unit President for CUPE Local 2067.2. “We are calling on the arts community, gallery patrons and the people of Windsor to urge municipal councillors to support their staff’s recommendation, and the proposal put forward by the Art Gallery’s Board of Directors, to save the facility.”

Twelve employees at the gallery including curator, preparatory, building maintenance, education and security could be laid off as early as December 31st, if the proposal doesn’t get approved, the union warns.

“We’ve been told that due to financial difficulties and budget planning difficulties, the gallery will close if the City of Windsor doesn’t purchase the building,” said Suanne Hawkins, CUPE National Representative. “What is a city without culture, without an art gallery that reflects who we are, who we were and who we could be? We must not lose our sense of history, our sense of place – it would be a great tragedy for the people of Windsor.”

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