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A new way forward for the Pemberton Arts Council

Constitution changes, a new board, more members and greater ambition


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Attention Spud Valley creative types!

The Pemberton Arts Council (PAC) has taken decisive steps to establish a new direction for the organization.

Founded in 2008, the PAC has been primarily artist-led since its inception but now it's time to broaden its remit, said Maureen Douglas, who led the Pemberton Cultural Roundtable struck by the Village of Pemberton 20 months ago.

The roundtable was created in response to a cultural tourism strategy that had previously been commissioned by the Village.

The roundtable brought in 14 members of the community to take part. This included the chamber of commerce, Tourism Pemberton, the Pemberton Museum, the library and current mayor, Mike Richman.

With 100 to 150 artists, musicians, writers, cultural workers and other creatives in Pemberton, Douglas said the village wanted to shape the future of the arts in a way that paralleled their interest in developing cultural tourism.

Currently, there are over 50 members in the PAC.

"The arts council was all volunteers and sometimes it has had a very small board, not a lot of worker bees. Achieving everything we wanted to achieve was challenging," Douglas says.

"It was an entity that was struggling a bit but still doing good work like the art show MADE and Mountains of Art. It was a very visual artist-focused arts council; what we are doing now is creating a broader platform, which will include all the facets of arts, culture and heritage, including that great nebulous character 'mountain culture.'"

With the aim of broadening its appeal to include cultural organizations as well as the individual artists who populate the village, two meetings in two weeks established the future form of the PAC.

The roundtable worked through transition plans through the fall and winter, culminating in a public meeting on March 2 to explain the new plans.

"It was a really good gathering of different small-town resources to try and leverage arts opportunities, the injection of culture into the community," Douglas says.

"Thirty-five people came out to the first meeting, which is pretty big for a Pemberton meeting. There were lots of new faces. It was great.

"There were established professional artists like Vanessa Stark, Karen Love and Mike Tyler, but there were people who also just love arts and culture and wanted to help out."

The PAC's annual general meeting (AGM) at the Pemberton Community Centre on March 16 followed this.

The AGM, the first since Sept. 2013, saw 28 people listen to moderator Douglas describe four proposed resolutions: to establish connection with community groups, government and First Nations; to redefine membership categories; how information is shared; and redefining the number of people of the PAC board of directors.

All resolutions passed.

As well, the president of the PAC Dave Modolvsky gave accounts of the previous AGM, along with financial reports.

This was followed by the election of a new board for the arts council, all elected to a two-year term. Fourteen PAC members ran for board positions, with seven elected.

The newly elected board members are Trish Belham (dance and theatre), Karen Love (painter), Lana McKenzie (arts governance), Dave Modolvsky (sculptor, painter), Marnie Simon (former chair Whistler Healthcare Foundation, Pemberton Library Board), Vanessa Stark (painter) and Mike Tyler (sculptor).

At the end of the vote, Simon was appointed chair of the arts council, Belham became vice-chair, McKenzie was named treasury and secretary, with Modolvsky confirmed as past president.

"My personal timeline for our very first meeting as a board is to have a workshop on governance and strategic planning," said Simon after her election.

"Knowing where we're going and setting our goals diligently is what I am hoping to do."

She is delighted to see the broad spectrum of talented people who are interested in participating in the council.

"They have a real passion for the arts and there is a wide variety of creativity, from graphic designers and live performers like music and dance," she said.

"Now we will be creating strong committees and we want public involvement, particularly from the people who ran for the board. They will be the first people we will contact."

Along with the elected members of the board, Simon also wants to ensure that the arts council has at least four community appointees, as well.

"We want to carry on with that support that we got from the cultural roundtable, which had a rep from the Village of Pemberton, from the SLRD, from the museum, from the library and Tourism Pemberton," she said

"With four of the key stakeholders at the table along with our board members, I am sure we can keep on track. I think that is really important."

Said Douglas: "We can imbed cultural celebration and expression in almost anything we engage in. There's a lot of excitement about this."