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Gallery maintains art ‘cannot be readily sold’ by Laurentian

The ownership of the art ‘is expressly not determined in the settlement' with Laurentian, says AGS
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The Bell Mansion is the Art Gallery of Sudbury's home. (File)

The Art Gallery of Sudbury said it believes the art referred to in a settlement reached with Laurentian University last week “cannot readily be sold by Laurentian University, and that Laurentian University does not own it.”

Legal counsel for the art gallery and Laurentian reached the agreement June 17 after the matter was caught up in the university’s insolvency restructuring process. 

It means, in part, that LU has the right to eventually sell the Bell Mansion, but AGS can continue to use it as its gallery space for three more years.

It also has several stipulations that deal with the art collection associated with the gallery.

You can read more details about the contents of the settlement between the two parties here.

The Art Gallery of Sudbury released a statement June 22 regarding the settlement with Laurentian University.

The press release said the settlement deals with the artwork collection known as the “LUMAC Collection.”

The Art Gallery of Sudbury has its roots in the Laurentian University Museum and Art Centre (LUMAC), a gallery established in the late 1960s.

Laurentian University transferred operation of the art gallery to a community group called Art Gallery of Sudbury in 1997.

Although the intent was to officially transfer assets such as the Bell Mansion and the art collection to the Art Gallery of Sudbury, that never happened.

The press release said the settlement allows for the go-forward operation of the Gallery while deferring certain issues to be resolved in the future when the pace may not be dictated by pending litigation or the pressures of the CCAA process.

It adds that the LUMAC Collection comprises art works accessioned into the Permanent Collection in the name of the former Laurentian University Museum and Art Centre prior to July 1, 1997.

The question of ownership of the LUMAC collection or the right for Laurentian University to sell any or all of that art is expressly not determined in the settlement, beyond the fact that it was agreed that the LUMAC collection was not formally owned by the Art Gallery, said the press release.

“The Art Gallery continues to believe the art cannot readily be sold by Laurentian University, and that Laurentian University does not own it,” the press release said.

“It is the Art Gallery of Sudbury | Galerie d’art de Sudbury’s intention and expectation that, following the settlement, it will continue to display the LUMAC Collection for public benefit for the foreseeable future.

“In this regard, the settlement acknowledges that the Gallery will continue to provide a safe and secure home for the LUMAC Collection to be displayed in Category A museum facilities, and to continue to maintain and display the LUMAC works in the public trust, for future generations, either at the Bell Mansion or at Junction East when completed.”

Laurentian confirmed as part of the agreement that it does not intend to take any steps to sell the art prior to a plan of arrangement implementation under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) process. 

“Following Plan Implementation, Laurentian agrees that it will give AGS 90 days’ notice of any intention to sell the Art that is managed or exhibited by AGS,” said the agreement.

The AGS press release also said the settlement obliges the parties to work together to update the arrangements under which the Art Gallery of Sudbury | Galerie d’art de Sudbury can continue to do so.

“The Gallery looks forward to so doing, once the current pressures of Laurentian University’s CCAA proceedings related to issuing and passing a Plan of Arrangement subside, and more time is available to the parties to work on how best to administer the art going forward,” the press release said.

“The Board of Directors of the Art Gallery of Sudbury | Galerie d’art de Sudbury sincerely thanks stakeholders, advocates and community members who supported the Gallery throughout this process.”