Gallery Gachet has learned that, after 21 years of receiving core funding from the Provincial Ministry of Health, its contract with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority is being severed, with ninety days notice.
The financial cut amounts to half of Gallery Gachet's overall budget, and represents the majority of wage and operational resources.
Gallery Gachet is a 23-year old, collectively-run society whose largely drop-in, exhibition and studio space provides public access to exhibitions related to mental health and education as well as workshops, talks, and other events for the DTES neighbourhood and the broader mental health community. Many of the participants in their volunteer program are clients accessing Vancouver Community Mental Health Services, and are on permanent disability assistance.
A September 3 press release issued by VCH indicates that contracts in the Downtown Eastside "without a strong health mandate" or who are offering "stand-alone services that lack formal connections to the health care system are unlikely to be renewed”.
At a meeting with VCH on September 2 it was made clear that Gallery Gachet's funding will not be renewed, as the Society's role was deemed to not fit with the “clinical” services that will become the focus for the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.
The organization's relationship to a health mandate, and/or to the health care system, was not addressed at the September 2 meeting.
A public meeting to discuss the present situation and future of Gallery Gachet takes place on Thursday, September 10 at 6 p.m. Light food and refreshments will be available. For more information visit the Gallery Gachet website at gachet.org.