Monday, July 22, 2024
Highlights 2News

Finances and personnel addressed at artPontiac AGM

Glen Hartle
Portage du Fort Nov. 30, 2023
Local art association artPontiac held their annual general meeting (AGM) on Thursday at its Portage du Fort headquarters, the Stone School Gallery.
As a precursor to the AGM, the association had held a special meeting on “The Future of the Pontiac Artists’ Association (artPontiac)” on Nov. 9 where they advised members, supporters and community members alike that the livelihood of artPontiac was in jeopardy. At that meeting, they invited anyone and everyone to step up, prepare for the AGM and consider how they might contribute moving forward, considering the significant challenges the past few years have represented.
Given the severity of the issues facing the association, President Cheryl Beillard invited an outside facilitator from the Pontiac Community Development Corporation (CDC Pontiac) to run the meeting. Ellen Boucher, Director of Development for CDC Pontiac, stepped in and joined Beillard, Vice President Clair Taillefer and Secretary Linda Roy at the head table.
Attendance was balanced between a virtual cluster via Zoom and about thirteen persons at the gallery. The total number of attendees was less than at the special meeting just weeks prior.
As reported in THE EQUITY (artPontiac at a crossroads, Nov. 16, 2023) the biggest issues for the association relate to finances and personnel in that both are in short supply. These two items became the focus of the bulk of the AGM.
Beillard and Taillefer took turns presenting specifics contained within the Annual Report and were happy to report on the successes of the past year including a Professional Development Day, roundly applauded exhibitions at the gallery, the second year of running the Stone School Shop and a popular weekly schedule of “Plein Air” art sessions.

On the flip side, they noted a decline in participation with courses offered via the Pontiac School of the Arts branch of the association and cited several initiatives that did not reach fruition for a variety of other and yet similar reasons.
Adding to the overall tenor of monetary alarm, the financial report for the year, as presented in the handout and official Annual Report 2022-2023, was not adopted. Beillard took length to specify that there were errors in the report, what the errors were, and the difficulties that the association has had in dealing with the professionals on board to deal with such things.
The meeting took the unusual act of not accepting the financial report and also of not appointing auditors and accountants for the next year. It was accepted that the new board would have as a top priority the reconciliation and resolution of these items. It is here where Boucher’s experience and expertise were most on display.
Operationally, Beillard noted that the lack of helping hands meant that she, Taillefer and Roy have been running as a “working board” and this has to be a top, if not the top priority for the association. “There are simply too many tasks to be accomplished by too few people and we need more shoulders to the wheel,” she said.
Boucher stepped in and affirmed that artPontiac is not alone in this and “it’s a real struggle everywhere.”
In an effort to help an incoming contingent of hands, should there be one, the current board has taken measures to document as much as possible the discrete items comprising the various tasks making up the bulk of the association’s activities. They also said that they are all staying close at hand and are offering to help in the year ahead.
An initial cycle of nominations and votes resulted in only two board members, not enough to retain legal status as an association. Once this became clear, Stephanie Pete, attending via Zoom, stepped up and became a third board member offering the association a chance to move forward. She joins Bryan Chen and Maureen McAuliff as board members for 2023-2024.

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