Oshawa’s McLaughlin Gallery receives nearly $80,000 federal grant for digital upgrade


Published February 5, 2024 at 10:40 am

Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, which established its bonafides honouring some of the greatest Canadian art pieces of the last century, is now honouring its present, thanks to a $78,404 grant from the federal government to digitally transform gallery operations.

The grant, from Ottawa’s Community Services Recovery Fund, will allow the RMG, the largest public art gallery in Durham Region, to transition to cloud based accounting software, adopting and integrating a point-of-sale system, and moving to more advanced fundraising software.

While projects like these may not have as much obvious impact for the gallery’s role in the community, making these changes frees up valuable staff time to deliver more programming and modernizes the back-of-house function, said RMG CEO Lauren Gould.

“By alleviating the administrative burden on our staff, we will free up time to focus on our core activities,” Gould explained. “Our operations team can focus more attention on visitor services, tours, staff well-being, and membership engagement. There are rare opportunities to invest funds in system and processes; we’re excited for this project to bring our operations up to date.”

Before the pandemic the gallery had identified that a lack of digital tools would hinder growth. “Our priority during lockdowns,” Gould noted, “was our community – we focused our digital strategy on engagement.”

The gallery showed expected but still “significant” revenue loss in 2020-2022 – an 83 per cent drop in learning activities, an 82 per cent drop in fundraising and a 73 per cent drop in venue rentals.

The digital transformation project will help the gallery adapt to new ways of working through electronic payments, integration of financial tools to reduce manual processes for its reduced staff complement and increasing membership and donation revenues.

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, located in downtown Oshawa behind City Hall, welcomes thousands of patrons each year to engage with exhibitions, education programs, volunteering opportunities, event spaces, the shop, an artist-in-residence and digital programming. Admission to the gallery is free.

True Currency exhibition from 2022. Photo Toni Hafkenscheid

indurham's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising