Arts Council fosters old passion with new plan
December 30, 2009
Nonprofit shifts to volunteer base during lean times
Nonprofits in Teton Valley do not lack passion, they lack the pots of money that were there in the past. This is the reality that has motivated mergers, but it is also the reality that has resulted in the consequence of downsizing for the Teton Arts Council this season.
Jennifer Moreland took the reins of TAC last month as the board chair, and her perspective is mostly pragmatic for an organization that is fueled mainly by the right side of the brain.
“The only thing constant is change,” Moreland said. “Change is scary, but it can be good. We’re trying to embrace change.”
The biggest change for TAC is a shift that will take the organization back to all volunteers. As a result, TAC can no longer employ an executive or administrative director, but Moreland is confi dent that the grass roots aspect of the arts will carry the programs that have become so much for so many over the years.
“This is the normal state of the Arts Council,” Moreland said of the shift to all volunteers. “It’s our reality when all the buckets of money dried up for national foundations that support us.”
Though the National Endowment for the Arts and the Idaho Commission for the Arts still support TAC, the board is now in a position that makes rallying support and volunteers a necessity.
Former board chair Kelly Sullivan is joined by Mike Peters, Trevor Garner, Emily Soderlund, and Dawn Banks, but Moreland is in the process of rebuilding the board to also include a vice chair and a treasurer from the healthy artist community in Teton Valley. In addition to new board members, Moreland is setting a three-year strategic plan into motion, one that seeks a more conservative fiscal balance.
“We have a lot of energy and a lot of passion, but we need to figure out how to finance that passion,” Moreland said.
The three-year plan for TAC will work to build up a fi nancial base and eventually hire staff again. The organization is still interested in a greater presence in town, but Moreland said that would have to be donor-supported space right now.
Despite reining it in a little for the Arts Council, Moreland said a full palette of colorful events and fundraisers are lined up for 2010, beginning with a 70’s and 80’s dance-off scheduled for mid-March. June will bring “Check Your Seat”, the male counterpart to the popular Pin Up fundraiser as the health concerns of gents will seek to inspire artistic renditions of chairs that will be auctioned off.
A staple for every nonprofit, TAC will focus on an increased presence at the Tin Cup this year. With 20 new donors at this year’s Tin Cup, Moreland is hopeful the trend will continue.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set for Shakespeare in the Park this coming summer, followed closely by another round of Pin Ups, a party that has become a staple during the summertime. Fall will usher in another Suds Souper bowl event, and the Arts Council plans to have even more bowls and soups to trump the highly successful showing this year.
With six dedicated art instructors teaching drawing, writing, ceramics, painting, and other mediums, Moreland said TAC is focused on strengthening its core to continue the culturally dynamic classes that have become essential to the organization’s mission.
“In order to build our base and grow, we have to broaden our relationships with larger groups like art schools and museums from outside the valley,” Moreland said. “If we can make Teton Valley a destination for artists, then we can bring in additional revenue streams without straining our loyal donor base.”
Visit the Teton Arts Council’s new web site to stay abreast of what is in store for Teton Valley’s artistic community along with over two dozen local artists featured at www.tetonartscouncil.com