KZNSA Gallery Consolidates

Global austerity and ever-diminishing arts budgets have led to dire financial consequences for many of the city’s favourite independent arts, culture, theatre and heritage institutions with many of them having to streamline their infrastructure and minimise their operations in order to keep their doors open. The KZNSA Gallery has embarked on an extreme exercise with far-reaching consequences in order to remain solvent in the short term, and plan for growth and sustainability in the medium to long terms.

“We have had to reduce our expenses and rationalise our free public services, and be more creative to maximise our potential profit centres,” explains KZNSA Gallery CEO Trevor Moore.

The KZNSA is a not-for-profit, member-based, public benefit organisation, with an additional Section 18 A Status. In effect, the KZNSA is an arts and culture education service provider governed by a democratically elected council, with specialist ad-hoc committees.

Identified areas of growth currently under the spotlight are the popular Arts Cafe and the bouquet of functions and events on offer at the gallery. To action these changes, the responsibilities of volunteer council members will be increased.

The cafe will undergo a carefully-planned make-over, with a revamped menu, extended trading hours and a more streamlined management approach being on the cards. Alan Heyns, who was a top chef in the UK for almost two decades, has returned to his home town to spear-head the transformation, re-structure the menu and develop the vibrant al-fresco family cafe. He will be assisted and supported by KZNSA Gallery council member George Thorne.

Existing successful events and functions will be extended – with the fun Friday Play Date, offering family-friendly supper and live entertainment, will take place every second Friday, allowing parents and children time and space to enjoy an evening out in a safe and child-friendly environment. Out-door movie-dates will continue, making use of the mild Durban weather to host cafe meals and outdoor film screenings of classic, vintage and indie movies. Also one-off themed functions, like the fabulous Audience with Evita, held recently, will continue.

The ever-popular KZNSA Gallery Shop will remain as is, under the watchful eye of council member and businessman Peter Avis. The gallery scheduling which offers a myriad innovative and cutting edge exhibitions will continue – being monitored by council member Garth Radmore.

“Regrettably, we have had to perform financial triage. This has meant we have had to amputate crucial parts of the organisation to save the whole,” explains Moore. “Executive salaries consume the lion’s-share of our meagre resources, so after much deliberation, we have had to release three senior KZNSA staff members from their full-time employ,”

Trevor Moore, CEO of the organisation will retire. “I intended to retire last year, and my retirement present from my extended family is a holiday to visit them abroad. I need to redeem this wonderful gift, which means I intended to leave the gallery from June this year anyway. Of course I will still support the gallery in whatever way I can in a pro-bono capacity on my return,”

Gloria Hoff is a much loved “institution” in the extended arts family in Durban. “Although she formally leaves the full-time employ of the KZNSA this month after having been responsible for the shop for more than three decades, every effort is going to be made to ensure Gloria remains a vital part of the organisation,” explains Moore.

Bren Brophy, the visionary gallery curator, will be released from his full-time employ, but will continue to curate events and exhibitions in the gallery on a project-to-project basis as funds allow.

KZNSA President, and Programme Manager for the innovative Durban Centre for Photography, Peter McKenzie paid tribute to these three remarkable, community-driven, outstanding and capable individuals. “It is with sincere regret that Trevor, Gloria and Bren formally have to leave the full-time employ of the gallery, but we are delighted that they are prepared to continue their work with the gallery in a different capacity and we are hopeful that a meaningful relationship with all of them will continue well into the gallery’s future,” he explained.

“It’s a sad irony that just as the institution has embarked on the vital strategies of transformation, activation and incubation, those entrusted to foster these changes are forced by circumstance to move on. As council we need to redouble our efforts to continue this critical injunction to make the KZNSA more relevant to its context and constituency,” said McKenzie.

The Gallery management and council continues to invest huge energy into its fund-raising and partnership initiatives to endeavour to ensure that this multi-faceted community arts organisation can continue to offer an excellent service to the city’s arts community and supporters.

The KZNSA is a registered non-profit organization, reg no. 004-833 NPO, and are registered with SARS as a Public Benefit Organization (PBO) 18/11/13/2597. To help or to find out more information, contact administrator, Emmeline Young on tel (031) 277-1705

The province’s foremost contemporary art gallery – the visionary 108 year old KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts (KZNSA) Gallery in Durban’s Glenwood is proactively undergoing a process of extreme restructuring and radical transformation to ensure its future in a recessionary environment.