Since it was founded in 1994, Quartier Éphémère has striven to balance its annual budget with a minimum of 50% independent revenue, an essential contribution to the organization operating smoothly and exceptional for a visual art centre in Canada. This financial situation is partly the result of the organization’s hybrid nature, which includes a dissemination sector and a creation sector. For many years, this hybrid quality prevented the organization from applying to the art councils for operating grants, as they required the candidates to have more traditional dissemination-creation structures. In addition, the tremendous growth of Quartier Éphémère, particularly with the opportunities that Fonderie Darling offered, forced it to turn to private funding to meet its needs and ensure its development.
As a non-profit cultural and charitable organization registered with the federal and provincial governments since 1999, Quartier Éphémère has developed myriad ways of diversifying its revenues. A large portion of these come from commercial rentals such as the restaurant Le Serpent, which occupies part of its buildings, and regular events organized in its spaces, which usually take place between two exhibitions. Every year, a multifaceted fundraiser is organized consisting of festive evening events, artwork Bingo, crowdfunding, sales of artworks and editions donated by artists in order to raise funds.
In addition, since the studio building opened in 2006, the organization has set up a sponsorship program for the Montreal Studios, which consists in bringing artists in direct contact with institutions, foundations, companies, or collectors. For the term of one year, the Sponsors of the Montreal Studios cover the studio rental, provide the artist with a production grant, and cover the costs of professional networking incurred by Fonderie Darling’s team. This program has gained great momentum and today, 8 out of 9 artists are generously sponsored.
When Fonderie Darling first opened, the organization established an entrance fee of a few dollars, while also keeping a free day during which its public events take place. With an exponential increase in the number of visitors, the organization can now balance the budget invested in hiring a receptionist/cultural outreach assistant, an indispensable resource for overseeing the generous opening hours of almost 40 hours per week.
In accordance with its letters patent, the organization grants a great deal of power to its active members in an effort to better reflect current Quebec society and be transparent regarding Quartier Éphémère’s use of public funds. The Board of Directors and Governors head the organization and at every Annual General Meeting, the members vote on the organization’s key directions, approve its financial statements, and co-opt its directors. Membership is constantly increasing, and this widespread support is critically important for the organization.
Membership applications and donations, for which the organization can issue receipts for income tax purposes, are accepted all year long. Donors are given visibility whenever possible. The generous support of donors has helped Fonderie Darling grow for the benefit of one and all, while also offering emerging artists an accessible professional context.