Statement from the Interim Director and CEO
December 2, 2022
Over the past couple of weeks, the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) has been faced with media coverage and online comments, but unfortunately, some meaningful context has been missing from the current discussion. Although the NGC is unable, for personnel and privacy reasons, to comment on the details of the recent layoffs, it is also important to set the record straight.
The National Gallery of Canada is a proud institution with a deep and rich history. Since its founding 142 years ago, the NGC has dedicated itself to the preservation and exhibition of art that reflects the full breadth of our society, the widest scope of our history and the evolving values of our country. “But, at times, we haven’t done that well enough, and we have recognized those shortcomings,” says Angela Cassie, Interim Director and CEO.
Over the past two years, the National Gallery of Canada built a refreshed strategic plan based on principles of collaboration, engagement, and inclusion. The strategic plan is rooted in the fundamental premise that art and artists have a role to play in creating a better world and that the purpose of the NGC is to offer transformative art experiences that strengthen community connections. “We’ve needed to look at how we can do things differently and move away from traditional ways of working that are no longer reflective of the kind of institution we need and want to be,” says Cassie.
A recent survey indicates that 77% of NGC members are 55 and over. “We appreciate our valued members and are focused on how we can continue to welcome and grow a diverse audience that includes youth, from coast-to-coast-to-coast.”
In implementing its strategic plan, the NGC is committed to the deliberate stewardship of public funds allocated to collecting, preserving, and presenting art that reflects the full range of Canadian culture. “Our financial support comes from visitors, generous donors, and the contributions of every Canadian, says Cassie. “We hold ourselves accountable to that reality in everything we do. All our partners have the right to ask if we’re being responsible, fair and equitable. To meet those expectations, it means that we need to align with our values, and it sometimes means making difficult decisions. Our dedicated staff is committed to evolving and transforming the Gallery to remain relevant for the future. We invite all Canadians to join us on this journey.”