By Fiona Campbell/Quinte Arts Council
July 30, 2020: When the World Health Organization first declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March, there was a lot of ambiguity about how organizations should communicate with their audiences and stakeholders. What do we say during a time of such fear and uncertainty, especially when we didn’t have the answers? (No one did.)
What became clear to us was despite this confusion, it was imperative that we maintain and even elevate our practice of open communication, transparency and responsiveness. We may not have the answers or know exactly what to say, but we made sure to show up (virtually, of course), listen and learn what our artist community is going through and what they need. We’re still doing that.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) gives an organization and its Board the opportunity to share news, challenges and successes, as well as hear from its community. (There are also items related to governance, such as approving financial statements, reviewing the bylaws, calling for board nominations, etc.) It’s an important avenue for an organization and its stakeholders (or in our case members) to connect, network, give feedback and participate.
Last year our 52nd AGM was held at the Belleville Club. We had student performers – singers from Eastside Secondary School’s The Leader of the Pack musical and pianist Alex Kohlsmith from Centennial Secondary School – sharing their incredible talents and energy. There was great food, stimulating conversation, reflections on the past year and projections for the future. 2019 had been an incredible year of change, renewal and growth for the QAC and 2020 was going to continue with that forward momentum. Then COVID hit and the world as we know it changed.
“Nothing can replace the energy, excitement and connectivity generated during an in-person event, but this year the Board of Directors made the (carefully considered) decision to host our AGM virtually on August 27 via Zoom,” says Janet Jarrell, Executive Director. “We’ll present members with our annual report and review the usual governance, but there will also be performers Danielle Edwards and Mason Forsey Mackinnon, two young and inspired musicians. Artists have uplifted and soothed our souls during the pandemic, and it’s essential that art and music continue to be elevated and celebrated within our community, regardless of the venue.”
There is still much uncertainty about the future, but we can be confident about our past: the QAC has been an integral part of the arts community since 1967. We remain dedicated leaders in advancing, promoting, advocating and cultivating a vibrant and diverse arts community. Perhaps this year it’s more important to connect in any way that we can.
For more information and to register, visit Eventbrite.