Arts Council branching out

Board members Cathy Lone and Tammy Hendrickx, chairperson Vicki Campbell-Dyck, treasurer Shelly Simoens and newest board member Vaisius. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

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With a record number of memberships under their belt, a local art organization is moving forward with new plans and ideas that include bringing art to communities outside of Morden.

Pembina Hills Arts Council recorded a strong year in 2018, with successful fundraisers and high visitation leaving the organization in a healthy cash position.

“Things have really stabilized over the last couple years,” chairperson Vicki Campbell-Dyck said. “Everything looks really great. There’s lots of ongoing, new exciting things happening.”

PHAC started some new events in 2018, like their monthly art talks (third Thursdays of the month) and listening parties.

PHAC brought in $4,500 through facility rentals, $10,000 through fundraising, $27,000 through program revenue and over $62,000 through grants from the City of Morden and Province of Manitoba.

Campbell-Dyck said it’s always a challenge to keep up with changing trends and get new people into the gallery. “It’s not just for artists, it’s for the general public,” she said. “That’s the main thing, getting regular people in here and regular foot traffic.”

Two satellite galleries were added, one in the Manitou Opera House and one in the Neubergthal Commons Barn. PHAC will be taking exhibits to these two locations as well as displaying them at their Morden gallery.

“We say that our arts council is a certain area on the map, so we’re trying to broaden it out for more people to be able to access,” Campbell-Dyck said. “If an exhibit comes here it should be able to go to the other two sites as well. That’s nice for artists to be able to display their stuff at three different locations.”

PHAC board members worked on strategic planning, going over their goals and objectives with a fine toothed comb. “We revisited our mission statement and evaluated and re-wrote it,” Campbell-Dyck said. “That’ll come to each board meeting and that’ll really help us streamline some of our ideas in the next year.”

Board member Cathy Lone said one of those new values is to bring insight into the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“We want to learn what it means and as a board we’re going to discuss different parts of it every month,” she said. “We want to bring more First Nation artists and awareness, that’s one of our new values.”

Some physical upgrades are on the calendar for the gallery space on Stephen Street. PHAC applied for a facade improvement grant with the City of Morden and will be getting a canopy installed over their front door.

PHAC plans to remove carpets on the second floor and restore the floors to their original state, and eventually restore the ceiling on the main level.

The annual Chili Bowl fundraiser sold out, and the Holiday Craft Sale was well attended and brought in an extra $2,600 through $2 admission fees.

PHAC is always looking for new board members.

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