The Dalles Art Center Board of Directors announces a new sustainability plan and an urgent call to the community to help keep TDAC in operation. If ongoing monthly funding of a cumulative minimum of $3,500 cannot be achieved by March 31st, the board is planning to move ahead with the painful responsibility of closing The Dalles Art Center by April 15th. This is a public appeal to all residents and businesses to help us avoid such a devastating loss to the community.
The Dalles – The board of The Dalles Art Center is implementing a sustainability plan to reduce costs and increase revenues. Key pillars of the plan include a focus on committed major donors, monthly donations, leveraging assets for ongoing revenue, and reducing staffing costs by eliminating the current Executive Director position and limiting center hours.
The Dalles Art Association (doing business as The Dalles Art Center or TDAC) has been in operation in The Dalles for over 60 years. Guided by a mission to be a connecting hub to inspire and engage with art, TDAC has enriched the community with art education, exhibits/installations, and artist support.
“In the last few years, TDAC has seen many positive developments guided by the leadership of our Executive Director Scott Stephenson,“ said Pam Westland, president of the TDAC board of directors. “In addition to visual arts, live performances have been added, project and operations grants have been secured, public art projects were completed, and the historic building and grounds have been rejuvenated, to name a few.”
In spite of these positive developments, limited fundraising opportunities, in part due to the COVID pandemic and the subsequent financial recession, have been a challenge over the last three years. At the same time, inflation and other economic factors have created increased operational
expenses. Similar challenges have led other art organizations in the region to temporarily close and re-evaluate their business model. Drawing insights from some of these cases, and working diligently with the support of a Murdock Charitable Trust Essentials of Development coach, the TDAC board concluded that a different expense and funding model is necessary for the continued operation of the center.
The four key pillars of this model are A) increasing the number of committed major donors, B) growing monthly donations, C) leveraging TDAC assets for ongoing revenue, and D) reduction of expenses.
A & B) Increasing committed major donors and monthly donations: Many residents and companies have supported TDAC with donations in the past. These generous donations have funded a large part of operations, however it has become clear that this is not a sustainable model long term. In order to keep providing services to the community, TDAC will nurture rewarding relationships with
private and corporate donors that are committed to ongoing monthly donations amounting to a minimum cumulative total of $3,500/month.
- Leveraging TDAC assets for reliable revenue: The board is exploring several ongoing revenue generating partnerships, such as space rental for groups, classes, etc.
- Reducing operating expenses. The current Executive Director Scott Stephenson will leave TDAC on Friday, March 10th. This has been a very difficult decision, the board is thankful to Scott for his leadership and many contributions to TDAC. Opening hours will be reduced to Thursdays through Saturdays 11.00 – 5.00. The gallery manager Kris Vercouteren will remain at TDAC, and board members are volunteering to staff the gallery until interim leadership can be identified and financially supported.
The TDAC board is passionately committed to retain the valuable community asset that TDAC represents. Each board member has contributed significant financial and engagement resources, and many of us are long time supporters and exhibitors. As an example for TDAC impact and long term engagement, board member Dawn Hert remembers attending summer art camp when she was a child.
How can you help? Contact the TDAC board today with your regular monthly contribution. Any amount you can pledge will help bring The Dalles Art Center towards long term financial sustainability.
TDAC board members:
President – Pam Westland
Vice President – Vonda Chandler Treasurer – Ed Thomas Secretary – Dawn Hert
Board members at large:
Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield Josiah Dean
The Dalles Art Center Key Points:
TDAC serves the Columbia Gorge and is currently the only dedicated arts organization between Troutdale and Pendleton.
Over 2,500 youth and adults have participated in the TDAC education programs including Summer Art Camp.
Over 1,000 artists have been showcased through exhibits, publications, and media platforms supported by TDAC.
TDAC returned over $60,000 in commissions to local artists in 2022.
The historic Carnegie Library building which houses TDAC has been restored and cared for by our own community members. Over $75,000 and 5,000 volunteer hours have helped restore and maintain the building.
Exhibits and Hours of Operation
The new hours for TDAC will be Thursday – Saturday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. The current exhibit of High School and Middle School art will remain at TDAC. Elementary school art is displayed through March in businesses on 2nd Street.