The Pemberton Arts Council is under new leadership after president Marnie Simon stepped down earlier this month.
Simon spent four years in the position — and two years on the Village of Pemberton’s cultural planning committee that ultimately revived the organization. Vice president Anne Crowley has stepped into the position until the organization’s Annual General Meeting in February 2018.
“We’ve offered a variety of programs and events over the last four years,” Simon said. “I think it’s a more viable organization now, which isn’t just me, it’s the board that worked with me. I see that it will continue to grow and become even more viable, which is a great thing.”
With a background sitting on various boards — rather than experience with the arts — Simon said her goal was to put in place governance and infrastructure for the organization. “I think I did accomplish that,” she said. “We’ve really raised awareness about the arts council. Our membership has grown.”
Crowley agreed. She said now the council can build on that work. “Now our focus should be engaging the art community and the public,” Crowley said. “We need to move forward and make the arts council more visible.”
Over the last four years the PAC has earned important grants — one in particular that allowed them to hire a part-time administrative assistant — and added programming like the Music Art Dance Entertainment (MADE) event, a Children’s Art Program and Festival and the successful Art and Garden Festival.
On top of that, the organization joined the new Sea to Sky Arts Council Alliance, which has helped offer them mentoring and partnerships.
“Right at the very beginning we had a public consultation to get a feel for what the community wanted,” Simon said. “One of the big things that came out of that was being more inclusive. I think, to be quite honest, things had gotten down to just an interest in painters and visual artists, so we broadened the mandate quite a lot to all genres, film, culinary arts, dance, music and everything. Particularly, it took a little while, but all of the levels of age groups — it wasn’t actually until this past year that we had the funding and ability to run a children’s program. I think that was quite successful.”
While Simon said she plans to remain a “loyal PAC member” and support the arts in Pemberton, her hope is to see more people get involved. “One of the biggest challenges right at the moment is they have to have more board members and more engaged board members,” she said. “They have to get out there and market things well… You can make all the lovely plans you’d like, but you’ve got to let people know (what’s happening).”
To that end, Crowley said they hope to see plenty of faces out at the AGM next year. “That’s going to be the challenge — to engage that energy that the young community can bring,” she said. “Hopefully they’ll find a use for the arts council and the products that the arts council wants to put forward. That’s going to be a major undertaking, finding out where the community wants to see the arts council go. Ultimately, that’s what it’s for: for the community, the public and artists.”