New arts council is born

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From left at the Cultural Summit are Graham Greer, Aultsville Theatre communications coordinator with guest speaker, Carol Feeney, executive director of Quinte Arts Council.

Members of the region’s artistic community gathered over the weekend to elect its first ever SDG, Cornwall and Akwesasne Art Council interim board of directors, at the 2012 Culture and Arts Summit, which took place at Aultsville Theatre.

“The day was designed to inform our local artists and community minded individuals who are interested in promoting and developing arts and culture in the region,” said Bruce Davis, cultural development coordinator for the Community Futures Development Corporation, which produced and hosted this event.

Speakers, including Quilt of Belonging artist, Esther Bryan; Work in Culture program manager, Karen Ennis; and Loree Lawrence, of the Ontario Arts Council, discussed a variety of subjects pertaining to the arts and business.

Also on the roster were Carol Feeney, executive director of Quinte Arts Council, in Belleville, and Clayton Windatt, executive director of the Sudbury Arts Council, spoke as best practice examples of other rural regional arts councils, and how they have been able to help define, promote and develop culture and art in their communities.

“What we’re hoping is going to come of today is a better educated community on what arts councils can do for the regions and how the community can participate with an arts council,” said Davis, who will be working closely with the newly elected board.

He goes on to explain that the typical structure or model includes advocacy, promotion, mentorship, grants, loans, financing and helping with business plans.

“Imagine a partnership with the CFDC and the arts council, where it’s got staff that are artistically minded, said Davis. “Nothing currently exists like that, where it’s an artist-friendly environment, where you can go in and sit with someone, and do a business plan, artist to artist.

Thirteen board members were elected. They are: Chuck LeClaire, music promoter; Steven Davies,  a South Dundas residence who has worked in finance for nearly 30 years; Jason Setnyk, a Cornwall teacher and founder of Rock for Charity; Ann Brady, a North Dundas screenwriter who organizes monthly open mic events; Amanda Marini Rohde, a teacher, dancer and host of a cable show on the arts; Sandra Van der Veer, a Cornwall belly dancer and policy writer; Marie Morrell, founder of the Parade of Nations and a local museum; Charlotte King, a painter from Akwesasne; Carolyn Davis Waldryn, a published author and relatively new Cornwall resident; Richard Salem from Long Sault, a graphic designer and founder of improv comedy workshops in Ottawa; Betty Healy, an author and strategic coach with business experience; Noella Cotnam, an artist and owner of Sign It Signs and Design in Williamstown; Dan Archambault, an internationally renowned artist, promoter and consultant.

“(The election of) this arts council is not the end of the process it’s just the beginning, said Davis. “There is great potential.”

Organizations: Community Futures Development, Cornwall and Akwesasne Art Council, Arts Summit Aultsville Theatre Ontario Arts Council Quinte Arts Council Sudbury Arts Council

Geographic location: Cornwall, Belleville, South Dundas North Dundas Long Sault Ottawa Williamstown

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