Godfrey Worsdale, the director of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and chairman of the Vaga board, said financial challenges had led to the decision to close the membership organisation

Visual Arts and Galleries Association to close

Rebecca Atkinson, 30.05.2014
Chairman Godfrey Worsdale cites "financial challenges"
The Visual Arts and Galleries Association (Vaga) has announced that “financial challenges” have forced it to close down, two years after losing arts council funding.

The association restructured in early 2012 ahead of the loss of its £100,000 grant-in-aid funding from Arts Council England (ACE). Its director Hilary Gresty and administrator Alison Lawrence were made redundant.

Despite significantly scaling back its operations and moving its London office to the Camden Arts Centre, Vaga has decided to end its status as a charity and wind down operations.

In an email to members, Godfrey Worsdale, the director of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead and chairman of the Vaga board, said: “Following a recent meeting of the Vaga board, its directors have agreed that a new way forward is required, and the notion of a paid membership organisation alongside and in addition to the Contemporary Visual Art Network (Cvan) is no longer tenable or logical.”

He continued: “Though financial challenges have led to this decision, if after dissolution of the company and the settlement of its outstanding liabilities, any remaining resources will be transferred to a charity with similar interests.”

Since learning that it would lose its ACE funding, Vaga has focused on two main areas of activity: advocacy and professional development.

Worsdale said that work around curatorial travel and research remains critical to the sector's longer-term future: “There is genuine commitment to this within the visual arts more broadly, and we are hopeful that this work continues to be progressed.

"I am sure that those interested in this important area will come together to create crucial opportunities, but due process must be followed as we progress the closure of the company.”

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