A&E » Arts

WAC and MY Place Society join forces

Two non-profit groups come together under one roof as of June 2



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The merging of the two societies has allowed streamlining of operations. Since WAC has been working out of MY Place since December 2008, they've already started seeing efficiencies and cost-savings on photocopier lease agreements, accounting and administrative costs, as well as only one server, website and e-mail system, one set of books and one audit.

"All the requirements to keep our status as a not-for-profit charitable organization, annual general meetings, reports to the Charities Directorate, reports to the B.C. Registrar's Society - this is all very time-consuming kind of stuff that I spend a lot of time on," Niedermayer said.

Niedermayer hopes to take these "significant" savings and redirect the money towards programming, which should help compensate for the loss of revenue from the B.C. Gaming Grants.

"The cuts in the funding from the province are quite devastating," Niedermayer said. "It's quite significant for us for our core programs, and our summer programs especially: the Children's Festival, ArtWalk and the Art Workshops on the Lake. And I would say that if we were not merging right now, I'd be really, really, really worried."

One of the hardest parts about the merging has been figuring out how to integrate the existing staff into the new organization.

"You're creating a new team, in effect, and it's a new dynamic," Niedermayer said.

Lundy's contract is up in July and at that point, Niedermayer and other WAC staff will step up to take over her various responsibilities.

By merging the two societies, they've been able to find the money to hire Dean Feser of Rocky Mountain Productions as a full time technical director, who will handle MY Place and off-premises events organized by WAC, like the annual Children's Art Festival and ArtWalk.

Some of the existing staff will also be asked to take on new roles and responsibilities, but other than these minor changes, there won't be any major cuts.

"There aren't any extra people hanging around that we have to get rid of, or anything like that," Niedermayer said. "We've both been pretty lean."

Over the past year, Lundy explained that MY Place was focused on renting space rather than programming; basically "maintaining the status quo" and ensuring their "books looked good" while focusing on integrating the two societies.

"I anticipate growth in the future because I think as the Whistler Arts Council starts to program the building, we start actually marketing the building - we've laid that foundation, we're ready to go with starting to attract people to come use the building," Lundy added.