After a discussion in a work session the Newport City Council decided to add an item to the agenda Monday night to include a discussion around the possible sale of the visual arts center building in Nye Beach. The Visual Arts Center known as the VAC is owned by the city and managed by the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts or OCCA. The building has been used for art display and education programs along as well as a public meeting space. According to Derrick Tokos Newport Community Development Director there are many steps involved if the council is to consider putting the property up for sale. He said this would include not only getting appraisals of the property but negotiating the contract with the OCCA.
Some of the reasons given for consideration of the sale include that an art gallery is something that is commonly provided through the private sector. In addition the costs of maintaining the property in a condition suitable for continued public use is going to be expensive and the city can use the money from the sale of the property to purchase other property more suitable for city function. There were many in attendance at the meeting from OCCA along with the director Catherine Rickbone who expressed concern over the consideration of the sale. The council assured those in attendance that this is just an opportunity to let the public know that they are considering the possibility of the sale and there will be future public meetings, hearings and more input given before a final decision is made.