Top News

Group urgently needs volunteers

Pictured are the Creative Pictou County Steering Committee for 2013-14. Seated, left to right: Nancy Kimber, Carlton Munroe, Trecia Schell, Janine Linthorne, Denise Lynch. Standing left to right: Dave Hachey, Andy Cunningham, John LeBlanc, Crystal Mann. SUBMITTED/DAVE HACHEY
Pictured are the Creative Pictou County Steering Committee for 2013-14. Seated, left to right: Nancy Kimber, Carlton Munroe, Trecia Schell, Janine Linthorne, Denise Lynch. Standing left to right: Dave Hachey, Andy Cunningham, John LeBlanc, Crystal Mann. SUBMITTED/DAVE HACHEY

A board meant to support the creative community is at risk of ceasing to exist unless it can recruit more people.

Creative Pictou County, the area’s regional volunteer arts council, is holding a public meeting regarding its future next week.

“We risk losing Creative Pictou County arts council without new members to the board and executive, and want to issue an urgent call for interest within the arts and creative industries throughout Pictou County,” Carlton Munroe, who sits on the board, said in a notice.

The board has lost its chair, secretary and treasurer over the past six months (though the treasurer position has since been filled) due to personal reasons and time commitment issues.

The problems Creative Pictou County is facing are a microcosm of what they’re trying to do for the arts community, John LeBlanc said in an interview shortly before he stepped down as chair.

“It’s very hard to follow your passions and be able to make a living at the same time. In the same way, it’s difficult to put all these things together when it’s entirely dependent on volunteers. You can only ask so much of people,” LeBlanc said in January.

He said a lot of people on the board have other jobs and serve on boards of other organizations.

Munroe said the group had four board meetings following the March 2015 election before taking a break for the summer, adding that it can be difficult to schedule meetings during that time. Members started stepping down in September.

At this point, they had hired a summer student who was responsible for putting together a directory of artists in the county. They also had a county-wide studio tour and riverside painting program planned for September in conjunction with the Town of New Glasgow and the national Culture Days organization.    

Their other goals for the year were to create a website where the database of artists would be available and to work towards hiring an administrator.

“Having that staffer was a key piece really,” Munroe said, adding that an organization can only do so much with all volunteers.

The problems the group is dealing with are a magnified example of what volunteer boards around the county face, Munroe said.

“There’s a certain segment of people that are quite active and involved in boards around the county, but there are several organizations that are really struggling to attract new board members as turnover happens. Volunteer burnout is here and it’s hitting the community, there’s no doubt about it.”

One rural graphic design artist in the county who has been hoping Creative Pictou County would represent him has been wondering what’s happening with the organization.

“I’d like to say that it would be a huge disappointment for the entire county if Creative Pictou County folded. There’s too many people that put too much volunteer time to getting it to a point where it was a bona fide organization,” John Ashton, who has been operating Ashton Creative Design for 30 years, said.

He saw the council as a way to open up job possibilities in the county and hopefully inspire a buy-local art movement.

“If we can find creative people in the county to do a job, if we have them here, let’s utilize this talent.”

He noted that there’s a large number of individuals in the area connected to the arts and culture community in some form and said it’s an industry that is taken for granted.

“The thing is, we need it. It’s that breath of fresh air when we have stress of life everyday,” Ashton said.

Ashton said he can’t volunteer himself because he’s already involved in other boards, though has offered to help advise on graphic and visual arts-related matters.

“When you’re self-employed, you have to be very careful on your time commitment.” 

Crystal Mann, who was on the steering committee in 2013 and 2014, had also been hoping the organization would be able to help her in her business.

Mann is starting a production company and was looking for a directory for services related to artists as she seeks out people to help her with different aspects of the business – graphic artists and website builders to name a few examples.

“I needed that (directory),” she said, adding that she’s had to meet people other ways “because the thing that’s supposed to be there to help all of us is not happening.”

While the council has been struggling to retain its board members, two art galleries in New Glasgow have closed.

“It does concern me,” LeBlanc said to a question regarding the closure of the Celtic Circle and Eventide Art Hub. “When those things go, it becomes harder to bring them back.”

He said a community that doesn’t have a thriving arts scene is less attractive to people looking for somewhere to settle down permanently and to tourists.

Though they’re having trouble, Munroe said they can’t give up – it even says so in their listed values.

“We can’t because there’s too much at stake,” he said. 

 

 

Interested in getting involved?

The public meeting regarding Creative Pictou County’s future will be held on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at Glasgow Square’s Green Room.

Email Janine.linthorne@newglasgow.ca for more info or if you plan to attend.

Creative Pictou County, the area’s regional volunteer arts council, is holding a public meeting regarding its future next week.

“We risk losing Creative Pictou County arts council without new members to the board and executive, and want to issue an urgent call for interest within the arts and creative industries throughout Pictou County,” Carlton Munroe, who sits on the board, said in a notice.

The board has lost its chair, secretary and treasurer over the past six months (though the treasurer position has since been filled) due to personal reasons and time commitment issues.

The problems Creative Pictou County is facing are a microcosm of what they’re trying to do for the arts community, John LeBlanc said in an interview shortly before he stepped down as chair.

“It’s very hard to follow your passions and be able to make a living at the same time. In the same way, it’s difficult to put all these things together when it’s entirely dependent on volunteers. You can only ask so much of people,” LeBlanc said in January.

He said a lot of people on the board have other jobs and serve on boards of other organizations.

Munroe said the group had four board meetings following the March 2015 election before taking a break for the summer, adding that it can be difficult to schedule meetings during that time. Members started stepping down in September.

At this point, they had hired a summer student who was responsible for putting together a directory of artists in the county. They also had a county-wide studio tour and riverside painting program planned for September in conjunction with the Town of New Glasgow and the national Culture Days organization.    

Their other goals for the year were to create a website where the database of artists would be available and to work towards hiring an administrator.

“Having that staffer was a key piece really,” Munroe said, adding that an organization can only do so much with all volunteers.

The problems the group is dealing with are a magnified example of what volunteer boards around the county face, Munroe said.

“There’s a certain segment of people that are quite active and involved in boards around the county, but there are several organizations that are really struggling to attract new board members as turnover happens. Volunteer burnout is here and it’s hitting the community, there’s no doubt about it.”

One rural graphic design artist in the county who has been hoping Creative Pictou County would represent him has been wondering what’s happening with the organization.

“I’d like to say that it would be a huge disappointment for the entire county if Creative Pictou County folded. There’s too many people that put too much volunteer time to getting it to a point where it was a bona fide organization,” John Ashton, who has been operating Ashton Creative Design for 30 years, said.

He saw the council as a way to open up job possibilities in the county and hopefully inspire a buy-local art movement.

“If we can find creative people in the county to do a job, if we have them here, let’s utilize this talent.”

He noted that there’s a large number of individuals in the area connected to the arts and culture community in some form and said it’s an industry that is taken for granted.

“The thing is, we need it. It’s that breath of fresh air when we have stress of life everyday,” Ashton said.

Ashton said he can’t volunteer himself because he’s already involved in other boards, though has offered to help advise on graphic and visual arts-related matters.

“When you’re self-employed, you have to be very careful on your time commitment.” 

Crystal Mann, who was on the steering committee in 2013 and 2014, had also been hoping the organization would be able to help her in her business.

Mann is starting a production company and was looking for a directory for services related to artists as she seeks out people to help her with different aspects of the business – graphic artists and website builders to name a few examples.

“I needed that (directory),” she said, adding that she’s had to meet people other ways “because the thing that’s supposed to be there to help all of us is not happening.”

While the council has been struggling to retain its board members, two art galleries in New Glasgow have closed.

“It does concern me,” LeBlanc said to a question regarding the closure of the Celtic Circle and Eventide Art Hub. “When those things go, it becomes harder to bring them back.”

He said a community that doesn’t have a thriving arts scene is less attractive to people looking for somewhere to settle down permanently and to tourists.

Though they’re having trouble, Munroe said they can’t give up – it even says so in their listed values.

“We can’t because there’s too much at stake,” he said. 

 

 

Interested in getting involved?

The public meeting regarding Creative Pictou County’s future will be held on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at Glasgow Square’s Green Room.

Email Janine.linthorne@newglasgow.ca for more info or if you plan to attend.

Recent Stories