Nfld. & Labrador

The Rooms faces budget cuts, job losses

13 people who work at The Rooms, the province's art gallery, archives, and museum complex, will lose their jobs due to a 15 per cent cut in this year's provincial budget.
Artists are worried about the impact of a spending cut at The Rooms, reports Lee Pitts 2:02

Thirteen people who work at The Rooms will lose their jobs due to a 15 per cent cut in this year's provincial budget.

The Rooms is home to the province's art gallery, archives, and Newfoundland and Labrador museum.

Mary Pratt says the curator for her upcoming exhibit at The Rooms will lose her job. (CBC)

Some of the staff who have lost their positions were specialized curators and archivists, including the curator who is helping renowned visual artist Mary Pratt mount a 50-year retrospective exhibition of her work in May.

"She'll be able to stay as long as the show is up here, which is a good thing," said Pratt.

Pratt noted that the level of professionalism in the provincial art gallery has increased since The Rooms opened, and she said she fears that quality won't last with these latest cuts.

"We've suddenly hit the big time, and we can't stay there, really, without staff," said Pratt.

Budget cut to $6 million

The job cuts are part of a $1-million cutback in The Rooms' budget, leaving its annual operating grant at about $6 million.

Lorraine Michael, the leader of the provincial NDP, said she is disappointed with the cuts. 

"It's an awful shame that after the tremendous amount of money that went into putting The Rooms there in place, that we're now not going to have the money to make sure that we have good programs coming out of The Rooms," said Michael.

Dean Brinton, the CEO of The Rooms, said management is looking at raising entry fees and changing the facility's hours of operation.

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