This year the Arts Council reached more than 700 students across the county through their Artists in the Schools program. FILE PHOTO

Arts Council – Haliburton Highlands shares past and future at AGM

By Jenn Watt

Nov. 22 2016

The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Nov. 16 annual general meeting of the Arts Council ~ Haliburton Highlands.

SPARC heading into second year of funding

Receiving half a million dollars from the Ontario Trillium Foundation can leave one a little overwhelmed. Chris Lynd chairwoman of the SPARC (Supporting Performing Arts in Rural Communities) told the assembled membership of the arts council about the day she found out they were successful in receiving $530000 over three years to build a provincial network for rural and remote performing arts. The arts council handles the money for the group which hired Greg Thomas to be network co-ordinator. Separately SPARC received a Canadian Heritage grant of $55000 to run the symposium which just wrapped up.

Lynd said the intention is to bring on board members from across the province and move away from a Haliburton-based SPARC organization. The money from Trillium is to bring together artists online to discuss issues of mutual interest.

The report to the arts council says that the recent symposium attracted 110 attendees including representatives from Canadian Heritage the Trillium Foundation Ontario Arts Council and Ministry of Culture.

Part of the grant goes to boosting the time the arts council is open by 10 hours a week.

Art populates public spaces

Several partnerships with area businesses and organizations have made it possible to display local artists’ work around the Highlands. In a presentation on the council’s art in public spaces program board member Greg Gillespie outlined many of the venues that had showcased art over the last year including Pinestone Highlands Summer Festival Baked and Battered Haliburton School of Art and Design Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion Winter Folk Camp and Hike Haliburton. In the coming year they are planning to take work to the Algonquin Highlands municipal office and library branches. He said they are looking for ideas and artists.

Artists in the Schools holds dozens of workshops

More than 700 students across the county were reached by the arts council’s Artists in the Schools program which has been running since 2004. Charlene McConnell the program co-ordinator told the group that the hands-on experience for students continues to be an important initiative. Last year 41 workshops were put on by 10 artists supporting the current curriculum. This coming year they intend to increase that to 48 workshops at least she said.

Jim Blake also told the group about Art on the Dock which was run for the second year by the Kennisis Lake Property Owners’ Association. The association offered to give the proceeds to Artists in the Schools.

This year nearly $3000 was raised for the program.

“This is so delightful because we have scratched for 12 years raising money for this program. We get $5000 a year from the school board” he said.

“Whatever is raised through the process that’s what we spend” Chris Lynd added. The program is modified for the budget each year.

Bylaws eliminate term restriction for chairperson

Several bylaw changes were introduced at the meeting including one that removed the restriction that “no individual may hold the position of chair for more than three consecutive years.” The board felt that the removing the rule would provide “flexibility and may improve the functioning of the board.”

There was some concern from members that this would allow a chairperson to hold power for too long. However it was noted that board members can serve no more than two terms consecutively with each term being three years – effectively making the maximum length of the job six years.

Other amendments changed the mandated board size from seven to “between seven and nine.”

Additionally the terms “heritage and culture” have been added to the purpose and objects of the corporation bringing the wording into the practice of the council which represents more than just the arts.

Some concern was raised from members the purpose of the council was too broad however Blake said arts council documents have always included “heritage and culture” and that this just brings the bylaws up to date.

New board members elected

Going into the next year the arts council will have eight members. Returning members are Kate Butler Renee Woltz Greg Gillespie and Erin Lynch. Elected on Wednesday: Laurie Jones Chris Lynd Laurie O’Reilly and Dan Manley.

Makerspace to open soon

Erin Lynch board member and staff at Haliburton School of Art and Design updated the membership on the makerspace in development at the college. A makerspace provides advanced tools to those who want to create. Lynch said the HSAD space will include a vinyl cutter 3D printer laser cutter industrial sewing machine and plotter printer. There will be hours when the space is open to the community. Lynch said the college anticipates it will open in early 2017.

Art Heaven opening Nov. 25

Susanne James from the Rails End Gallery updated the group on the coming fundraiser called Art Heaven. In its second year this event takes previously loved artwork and resells it with funds going to the gallery. The deadline to donate art has passed but those looking to buy new-to-you pieces can start coming to the gallery on Friday Nov. 25 at 3 p.m. and the sale will be on until Dec. 23.