President’s Annual Report 2014

Welcome and thank you for attending. As I have said in previous years, the Annual General Meeting is the most important formal event connecting the members of the Arts Council, the Board of Directors and staff who work on behalf of the members and the many volunteers who make the Sunshine Coast Arts Council come alive in our community.

I want to direct my first comments to the current Board – Anna Banana, Tim Clement, John Farmer, Katherine Johnston, Jan Major and Linda Williams – a group of dedicated volunteers who have worked together over two years. Thank you. Thank you for being dedicated, steadfast, resilient and so very, very capable. At the end of this evening, three of those I have just named will be stepping down from their responsibilities as Directors of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council [Anna, John and Linda], as will I, and a new Board will be in place to carry the Arts Council forward. Leaving their role on the Board does not mean leaving the Arts Council or the many activities and programs they are involved in. However, it is important to acknowledge their contributions as Board members on the evening those responsibilities end – so Thank you specifically to Anna Banana, John Farmer and Linda Williams.

It is also appropriate at this time to acknowledge and thank Sheenah Main as our office Administrator. Her first full year of work with the Arts Council almost matches the Financial and Administrative year we are reporting on tonight. And what a year it was. Boards become dependent upon and grateful for those who actually implement and administer the organizations projects and programs. We are, indeed, grateful for Sheenah and her ability to focus on multiple points of chaos, pulling together all of what needs to be done for the Arts Council’s many programs and projects.

I will now turn to a more detailed review of those programs and projects the Sunshine Coast Arts Council has undertaken between July 1, 2013 and our year end on June 30, 2014.

Always first in line for mention is the annual Exhibition program for the Doris Crowston Gallery. Over the year we are reporting on there were 7 professional exhibitions with 14 artists as well as the Adaskin Exhibition and Auction. The Friends of the Gallery show included 84 artists all showing work they had created in 2013. We had 28 active gallery attendants over the year who contributed a combined 875 hours to keep the Gallery open. Recorded visitors to exhibitions were 4,089.

Additional exhibitions in the year include the Children’s Banner Project – now sponsored by Clayton’s Heritage Market and the Young Artists Show. The Banner Project at 500 entries, with 10 schools participating. 20 designs were chosen to be made into full size banners which were displayed by the Municipal Library Building and Aquatic Centre. Fifteen volunteers worked for a total of 155 hours to make this project successful. The Young Artists had 80 entries from 30 artists ranging in age from 5 years to 18. Ten volunteers were involved in that production, including the professional artists that assess every entry and provide comments on the entries. Eighteen of the young artists receive gift cards for art supplies which, of course, will encourage them to continue in their creative endeavors.

The Literary Readings that have been a mainstay of the Arts Council programming for decades had a difficult time at the start of this fiscal year. The funding from Canada Council that this program has always relied on was not forthcoming. However, the committee under the leadership of Dick Harrison rallied with local support and increased donations at the door to put on a smaller program. Canada Council support was re-established for the spring 2013 season and they are now in much better spirits. Noted authors who read at the Arts Centre included one of my favourites – Sarah de Leeuw – as well as Evelyn Lau, Aislinn Hunter, J.B. MacKinnon and Canadian icon, Rudy Wiebe.

Of course, none of these events could take place without our building. There has been considerable restoration and maintenance work completed of the 2013-24 year – all of it under the careful guidance of Tim Clement. The drainage around the log building was completely redone and decaying logs on the south and south-west walls were repaired. Inside the building we added automatic door closers to improve fire safety and security. On the advice of the fire inspectors and electricians the incandescent bulbs used in the exit signs were replaced with LED lights. More recently – actually in the current fiscal year, rather than 2013-14 – the entire exterior of the log structure has been refinished. The building maintenance has been completed by volunteers Tim Clement, Chuck Payne, Dan Chercover, Jef Keighley, Marion Joicouer and John Farmer.

The building is a source of revenue from rentals to other organizations and individuals. We had 14 regular renters over the year and 31 single rental events. The building is also used without charge by the Festival of the Performing Arts and the Sechelt Arts Festival. The new and much upgraded projection screen is also important to mention in this context. A year earlier, the Natural History Society purchased a high quality digital projector to be housed in our building. This year Russ Tkachuck, a member of the Arts Council and long-time Director with the Natural History Society obtained a grant from the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation to purchase a new and much upgraded projector screen.

One event that does not take place in our building is the annual Hackett Park Summer Craft Sale. In August 2013 there were 3,815 visitors counted at the gates and a total of $9,900 in gate receipts. The fair had 65 vendors that year and 54 volunteers helped to make it a success. Related to the summer event but held in the Arts Centre for a change of venue in 2013 is the Christmas Craft Sale. Like the summer fair this is a juried event. There were 19 vendors participating and 31 volunteers. Sheenah Main produces both of these events.

Events will not be attended if they are not publicized. One of the main communication methods we use is the bi-monthly publication of Artistry. Linda Williams has co-ordinated this over the past several years and has agreed to assist in the future although she is stepping away from the Board. While Linda coordinates the issue and writes much of the material, the lay-out and design of Artistry is completed by Mary White. We are very fortunate to have the co-owner of one of Canada’s major publishing houses volunteer on our newsletter.

The year I have reviewed was a busy year, but successful and marked by a renewed focus on building solid foundations for the future of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council. Our building has been renewed and is in excellent structural shape; our finances are more solid than in any recent year and our volunteer base is strong. We can continue working to further our constitutional purpose to “increase and broaden the opportunities for Sunshine Coast citizens to enjoy and to participate in cultural activities.”

Bruce Milne
Sunshine Coast Arts Council