In a report to the Newport City Council Monday night, Oregon Coast Council for the Arts Executive Director Katherine Rickbone implored the council to acknowledge the large economic and cultural benefit the Visual Arts Center (VAC) gives to the community and thereby justifies their request that the council should leave the VAC right where it is – that they shouldn’t sell it.
The council has said repeatedly of late that the VAC is not for sale. But the council does want the OCCA to raise more money for the VAC and the Performing Arts Center’s maintenance and repairs so that city subsidies can be lowered. The council has said repeatedly that the city faces huge costs for replacing failing sewer and water distribution lines, street maintenance, water reservoir improvements and the list goes on and on.
But Rickbone claimed that working in tandem, the VAC and the PAC bring a 700% return on the city’s investment in terms of performance and tourist magnetism that the two properties exude.
Rickbone’s report was one of a number of progress reports the OCCA agreed to give the council as both sides explore more ways to raise money for repair and upkeep, especially of the VAC, which is in for some high dollar renovations in the near future. The VAC is a 30+ year old structure that has withstood the onslaughts of thirty windy and wet Oregon Coast winters which have all taken their toll.
Rickbone will be back before too long with another progress report on how the community can keep the VAC in place and intact but with less direct support from the city.