The Kitchener City Council is desperately trying to figure out what the region needs for the pandemic and its financial limitations. However, on Jan. 14, 2021, the council made the decision to accept a $100,000 one-time grant request from THEMUSEUM’s CEO, David Marskell, for marketing an upcoming exhibit opening in November, 2021.
THEMUSEUM now owns the exclusive rights to UNZIPPED, an exhibition celebrating The Rolling Stones’ 60th anniversary by exploring the untold history of their lives.
According to Marskell, they were pre-ordering their ticket sales a year before and therefore they decided to make some announcements.
“We’ve had over $100,000 in sales already. We’re booking tours, bus tours, one from as far away as Nova Scotia. We have significant support from the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, $150,000. We’ve got local corporations that have come together, and we’ve got well over $100,000, collectively, from them,” Marskell said.
The project now has a total of $350,000 in funding, eight months before the grand opening. How they managed to earn that much was due to its price tag.
“We’re going to be upwards, close to $800,000 or $900,000 when we’re said and done with marketing, building out a merchandise store which we have opened online already, but we will open up one at the front of our building, and some of the other activities we intend to bring in and announce along the way,” Marskell said.
Marskell hopes the grand exhibition will coincide perfectly with the large delivery of vaccines for COVID-19. He predicts that a large number of people will want to experience the UNZIPPED exhibition. Marskell views the one-time grant as the perfect opportunity to boost Kitchener-Waterloo’s tourism industry after the hit it took during the pandemic.
He believes that this opportunity will help revive the economy in addition to restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and retail.
“People are going to come from far away, and if we can work together as a community to have them stay overnight, see something at Drayton, at St. Jacobs, at the symphony, or what have you, we need to take advantage of that,” stated Marskell.
While Marskell hopes for the exhibition to become a success, regional staff suggested that the council should not accept the funding and instead focus on the pandemic.
Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic intends to defer the decision until there is more information regarding potential funding options from the provincial and federal government.