Originally published: September 16, 2013
The City of Newport’s Visual Arts Center could be placed on the “for sale” list. The city says it needs funds for other essential property purchases and is evaluating whether owning a Visual Arts space is appropriate.
“As part of our budget discussion, we talk about where we spend our finances. And this is one of the many buildings we spend money on. And so we took a look at the facilities and how much we spend on them. And we spend an awful lot more on this particular facility than we do on others because of its aged condition.”
A city representative explained the situation at a Newport City Council meeting Monday night. Discussion of the Visual Arts Center was added to the agenda at the last minute. This prompted some angry responses from the public, including Oregon Coast Council for the Arts Director Catherine Rickbone.
“All of this is quite a surprise – about the sale of the Newport Visual Arts Center – or the proposed discussion of it.”
Newport owns and maintains the Visual Arts Center, but it is managed by Rickbone’s organization.
Responding to the criticism, the City Council decided to table discussion until October 7th. Then they will decide whether to take preliminary steps – like getting an appraisal – that would allow the city to sell the property. There would be several opportunities for public input before any final decision is made.