Artists to discuss adoption of art gallery

A section of the artist community of the City is not too happy with the State government allowing adoption of Venkatappa Art Gallery (VAG) by a private foundation under corporate social responsibility project. The prime reason is that the government has not made the activities to be taken up at the gallery, public.

The Tourism department and Tasveer Foundation last year signed a memorandum of understanding for adoption of the VAG. However, details of the MoU have not been made public. There has been lot of apprehension among artists, who get the gallery and auditorium at VAG at a reasonable tariff whether the facility would be continued once the gallery passes on to the hands of a private institution. The other concern is that the art gallery would be commercially exploited and thus shrink the space for budding artists.

Artists, who have been discussing the issue online, are scheduled to meet at # 1 Shanti Road gallery and studio around 11 am on Sunday. Though top artists have expressed their concerns, they did not like to be quoted on this issue. The argument is that till a copy of the MoU is read, nothing could be construed.  

The government’s efforts to handover the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum to Biocon under the CSR did not materialise because of many objections.  

However, Tourism Minister R V Deshpande, when contacted, said that it was a fact that the gallery had been adopted by Tasveer Foundation under the CSR but this did not mean that it had been handed over to private individuals. 

“The gallery needs to be maintained properly for it to be a tourist destination. The Cabinet has approved the adoption of many tourist places including the gallery. It is a heritage building and no one can claim rights over it or alter it. Galleries could be added. Infrastructure facilities like toilets would have to be improved,” he added.

Asked what would be the role of Tasveer Foundation and whether the rentals would go up, the minister said: “Till now, no artist has approached me seeking the details. I am ready to hold talks and clear their doubts. I assure that no individual intends to earn profit out of such initiatives.” 

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