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Welcome to the 45th Annual General Meeting of the Comox Valley Community Arts

Council. My name is Jamie Bowman and I am the president of the Board. I'd also like

to introduce to you our current directors, Bobby Herron, vice-president, Anna Rambow,

secretary, and Kera McHugh.

At this time, I’d like to give you my ‘state of the Council’ report on the Comox Valley

Community Arts Council past fiscal year.

First off, I want to express my deep appreciation to the board members, volunteers and staff

who have worked so tenaciously to support and enhance the artistic culture of the Comox

Valley. In particular I want to recognize departing board members Jenna Chalmer, Jill

Moran, Beth Borsato, and Stacey Harper – who continues to volunteer her accounting skills;

our co-op students, Melissa Willwoods and Heather Koning; plus some really outstanding

volunteers, including Claude Dalley, Alan Burgess and Tom Dishlevoy.

We also owe a deep debt of gratitude to our funders, both individuals and organizations,

including the BC Arts Council, the BC Gaming Commission, Canadian Heritage, the

City of Courtenay, the Comox Valley Regional District, Downtown Courtenay Business

Improvement Association, and to a number of individuals.

I want to particularly acknowledge the significant financial contributions of Brian Scott and

Jerry Simice.

This has been a time of transition and re-building for the Arts Council, as we have been

faced with serious challenges in the past year.

Our stated mission is to animate the arts in the Comox Valley by: acting as a resource for the

arts community; informing the public about the arts; and celebrating the Comox Valley as an

arts producing centre.

In the past year, we have done a lot, made difficult decisions and found new direction. We

have focused on a rebuilding the foundation for a continued successful society, well-armed

to reach those stated mission goals.

Guided by a professional facilitator, we analyzed all our programs and policies. From

that, we developed a new and very comprehensive strategic plan. We have a membership

survey underway to ensure we are in step with those we serve. We have rebuilt our

communications. Our regular digital newsletter is now automated and attached to the

website with links and a calendar. We now have on-line forms for feedback from members'

and the public. We have done a complete overhaul on our website, to focus on self-serve and

easier management by staff and volunteers. That has given us a greater, more professional

and more accessible presence on the Internet. And, we have an active social media presence.

We have continued to partner with a number of community organizations, including the

Elks, the DBCIA, the Community Justice Centre, the City of Courtenay, the Comox Valley

Art Gallery, MusicFest, Elevate The Arts, and a number of others.

In the past fiscal year, our programs included:

1. Utility Box painting,

2. Comox Valley Airport Art Exhibition

3. A community PA Sound System for loan

4. Writers' Support Group

5. Songwriters Circle gatherings,

6. Fundraising and Marketing Plan development

7. Annual raffle

8. Ongoing Youth Mentorship and Mural Projects, including the impressive Lewis

Park Pool mural with Tracy Kobus and the Diversity Mural on the Elks Club wall in

Simms Alley, led by Josh Klassen and Anh Le.

9. The Trash Art Challenge, and

10. CVAG/CVCAC Members Exhibition (annual)

And we are working toward developing:

1. a members' directory,

2. public art as part of the City of Courtenay's Centennial Project and,

3. a workshop series for artists' professional development

One of the most difficult decisions we made as a board was to close the Muir Gallery. We

had to accept that the Muir was unsustainable: too much of our reduced funding was going

to pay for rent, as was too much staff time in operations. We found generous funders who

stepped up to help keep the Muir open, month-to-month, while dedicated volunteers like

Jenna Chalmer and Alan Burgess put in many hours.

Our decision to move on from the Muir will open bigger and better long-term possibilities to

encompass a wider breadth of programming.

We recognize the importance of the Arts Council having a central, physical presence in

the community. We have been working on an opportunity to have a new location in the

downtown core, one that won't suck away so much funding -- a location that can provide

wider support to all genres of the arts.

Negotiations are underway but not ready to be public. The project will involve a capital

fundraising and volunteer campaign, of which I truly hope you will all be a part.

Successful organizations must go through renewal. That is where we are: focusing on our

foundations for the future, enabling your Arts Council to better supply fresh and continued

services and support to all disciplines of the artistic community of the Comox Valley.

A lot of the following, we have been doing already. But our goals are to do more, to ensure:

• That local artists and arts-sector workers have access to relevant, up-to-date

information, learning opportunities and resources to assist in their projects and goals.

• That local artists have access to tools to help them network with other artists, with

venues and presenters and to sell and promote their work.

• That community members have access to information and opportunities to support

their development as artists, at all levels.

• That the community has a strong membership-based organization – with good

governance, talented staff and volunteers – that can be a voice for artists and arts-
sector workers.

• That the public, and local government, have access to excellent information about the

importance of the arts in the well-being of our community, and

• That our Valley continues to be recognized as a significant arts-producing centre.

In closing, as much as we are doing, your Arts Council needs financial support, volunteers

and fresh faces on the Board to work with us toward defined short- and long-term goals.

The Arts want you! Contact our staff or email through the ComoxValleyArts.com website.

Thank you.

Jamie Bowman, President

Comox Valley Community Arts Council