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Kathleen Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, is photographed in Rodney Graham's Canadian Humourist exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, August 9, 2012.Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

The Vancouver Art Gallery has a new chair – and an operating surplus. At its annual general meeting Wednesday, the VAG reported an operating surplus for 2011 to 2012 of $336,954 – a dramatic turnaround from the previous fiscal year, when the gallery was $886,080 in the red. The surplus will be used to offset the previous deficit.

"This marks a return by this 81-year-old organization to our long-standing track record of financial stability," gallery director Kathleen Bartels said in a statement.

The VAG's new chair is Vancouver lawyer, philanthropist and collector Bruce Munro Wright, who is also chair of the Vancouver Opera Foundation and the foundation of Frontier College.

"I'm very pleased and honoured to take on a leadership role at this prestigious institution at this exciting time in its history," Wright said in a statement. "And as we look to the city's pending confirmation of the site for our new gallery in the new year, there is much more growth in store for this dynamic organization."

The city has given the VAG until February to prove its case that a move to a new facility on city-owned land known as Larwill Park – currently a parking lot across the street from the Queen Elizabeth Theatre – has local support, and is financially viable.

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