QAC’s 51st Annual General Meeting – Annual Report


2017 was an incredible year as the Quinte Arts Council celebrated its 50th Anniversary. In addition to a variety of festivities and events, arts education activities continued the tradition that was started in 1967 to provide quality arts education and experiences to students in our community.

Potter Perry Poupore went to Centennial Secondary School where he taught pottery to Grades 9 and 10 students for nine consecutive classes. An experienced pottery workshop provider, Perry not only introduced the students to a variety of pottery techniques but he was also able to fire the students’ works.  The project was a glowing success, achieving its goals of increasing engagement for less confident young artists and of enhancing the curriculum beyond drawing and painting by adding a 3D element.

At York River Public School in Bancroft, Chuck Commanda, an Algonquin elder from the Kitigan Zibi First Nations reserve in Quebec, shared his knowledge of traditional birch bark canoe building with students, parents and members of the local Kijicho Manito Madaouskarini Algonquin community. He showed them how to weave wadub (a traditional rope made from refined spruce root) through the birch bark frame of a canoe model and encouraged students to consider the ecological importance of local watersheds. They also practiced skip counting as they estimated the length of their canoes and used materials that are considered to have healing properties by Algonquin communities. For example, did you know that willow is a known remedy for headaches?

Kente Public School engaged Emebet Belete, a visual artist living in Belleville. She studied art at the Fine Arts School of Ethiopia and at Queens University and has worked and travelled in Asia. She uses pastel, oil and acrylic paint as well as mixed media to create her works that have been exhibited on four continents.

The goal for Emebet’s workshop, Pastel Circles, was for students to experience and create abstract art as inspired by Philippine artist Pacita Abad. Students used glue, pastel and glitter on construction paper to create their own mixed media work. They learned about line, colour and texture, focusing on repetition of colour and shape, patterns and rhythm.

At Foxboro Public School, junior students learned about medieval society and music through the telling of The Faithful Wife by the Traveling Troubadours. The presentation told the story of a knight during the time of the Crusades and featured recorders, a harp and a psaltery (a stringed musical instrument). Students Alex and Nathan said their favourite part was “When they told us about the instruments because they were very weird looking instruments, and they sounded so funny and awesome.” At the end of the presentation students split into groups and retold the story through tableau. Student Bradyn said, “I liked creating the tableau because it was about the play and it described what happened in the play.  It was awesomely fun!” According to grade four teacher, Julie Candler it was “a great way to kick off our grade four social studies unit on Medieval Times.”

Artist Jeff Mann transferred his passion for cars and art to Grade 7 students at Stirling Public School. Using recycled automobile parts, paint and a whole lot of fun, together they created t-shirts and other works of art.  It was a fun day of hands-on activities and creativity.

Jeff also did a similar workshop at Queen Victoria Public School where students used car engine and transmission parts to redesign clothing and create art.

2017 also saw the QAC award some very talented young people with bursaries.  Thomas Abbott, who graduated from Trenton High School and has gone on to study Music and Digital Media at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, was awarded the Hugh P. O’Neil Bursary.  He also won the Susan Richardson Bursary, which we are able to award thanks to the generosity of Roli and Linda Tipper.

The 2017 Quinte Arts Council Bursaries were awarded to Paige Vilneff of Centre Hastings Secondary School and Jessica Vilneff of Moira Secondary School. Paige has gone on to study Art History at the University of Guelph, while Jessica Vilneff is currently studying dance and the fine arts.

For five weeks during summer the QAC welcomed indigenous high school student Matt Kanayok.  Matt was part of the Northern Youth Abroad program where students from Nunavut and North West Territories travel to acquire professional skills, training, hands-on work experience, high school credits and cross-cultural awareness.

The highlight of the year was a new program Youth Arts 150, a three-day music and arts festival hosted at Centennial Secondary School, which took place on November 8, 9 and 10, 2017. The idea for the festival was born nearly two years ago as an academic activity designed to bring local youth and the arts community together.

Students were responsible for planning all aspects of the festival. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that gave them insight into what it takes to stage a major arts festival. Students did everything from contacting artists and tech load-in to marketing and catering. They cleaned paint brushes, they served food and they hauled gear. They also got to get on stage to sing with respected Canadian musicians.

Workshops included visual art, playwriting, jewellery and accessories making (using recycled materials), live sound applications and modern dance. Artists involved included Peter Paylor, Lisa Morris, Andrea Mann and Al Torrence and evening concerts featured the students performing as peers with the Woodshed Orchestra, Hawksley Workman, the Cash Brothers and the Skydiggers.  Many of the artists said that working with the students was a career highlight for them.

A big thank you to the John M. and Bernice Parrott Foundation, The Ontario 150 Partnership Fund and the Rotary Club of Belleville for helping the QAC make Youth Arts 150 a reality.

Spring saw the world premiere of Summer of ’67, a musical written by Wendy Shaer and produced by Shaer productions.  Staged at Maranatha Church, it proved to be very popular with the public and engaged professional musicians, vocalists and talented emerging actors and singers.

In September BelleVegas 5 presented another great evening of music led by Dan Shaer and his band with guest vocalists including renowned artist Skipper Deans and local legends Eric Berranger and Dan Thompson of Bentwood Rocker

Many thanks to Dan and Wendy Shaer for their support over the last four years and for the gift of offering to produce Summer of ‘67 as part of QAC’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

A big thank you to Elaine A. Small and Joe Callahan who organized a very successful fundraiser and fun evening of music at San Souci in Belleville in October, and to all the musicians who volunteered their time and considerable talent!

In 2017 the QAC also continued its promotional partnership with Downtown DocFest and wish to congratulate the dedicated DocFest committee for the production and organization of the event.  Not only does the festival present world-class documentary films to the public, it attracts hundreds of people to downtown Belleville.

At the annual Arts Recognition Awards/Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts David R. Maracle, Susan Holland and Starboard Communications were all recognized while last year’s Susan Richardson Award winner, Roanna Kitchen, gave a wonderful and moving performance displaying her vocal talent.

The Umbrella arts newspaper has continued to be the voice of arts, culture and heritage in our community and is an excellent vehicle with which to promote the activities of our membership. We appreciate the articles and information submitted by our members and the many advertisers that help support the costs of production.

The weekly arts calendar distributed to our membership provides timely information on what is happening each week as well as calls for entries and other opportunities of interest.  Throughout 2017 Carol Bauer, editor of the Umbrella, website guru and creator of the arts calendar continued to undertake quality communications activities both online and offline to promote our membership while encouraging members of the public to participate.  Graphic designer, David Vaughan, and volunteer assistant editor, Jane MacKenzie, also contribute greatly to the success of Umbrella.

Arts in the Community Program (AITC) continued with the support of our member artists and the public. In the fall the QAC was able to add a special exhibit at Dinkel’s Restaurant & Courtyard in honor of the Belleville Arts Association’s 50th anniversary.

In 2017 we faced the challenges that the Build Belleville infrastructure project presented when the upgrades were made to Bridge Street. We experienced a big reduction in traffic from June to November, which impacted sales but we are confident that the new and improved gallery space with extended hours will help increase sales in 2018. Thank you to Lynda Pauk who works in the gallery on Thursdays as well as artist, Dennis Stembridge, who helps to deliver and hang the exhibits at AITC locations throughout the year.

The QAC Gallery & Gift Shop is a great showcase for the work of our members and has one of the largest selections of local authors’ work in the area.  It also provides information to tourists and the public by offering promotional material provided by members and groups.  Staff and volunteers are always ready to answer questions or give further information.  It also acts as a box office for local member groups to sell tickets to their events.  We encourage our members to continue to take advantage of this service.

The QAC’s inaugural Arts en Plein Air Festival ran from September 7 to 10, 2017. For three days, painters interpreted the scenic beauty of Belleville and five other sites in Quinte. On the Saturday, numerous artists performed and exhibited at our two downtown venues.  Visitors were able to sit and enjoy the musical performances or stroll through the art exhibits. We were pleased with the success of the festival and plans have begun for a second one to be held in May of 2019.

Our programming and services would not be possible without the support of our members, donors and sponsors.  We are pleased that McDougall Insurance & Financial and Roli and Linda Tipper of Tipper Financial continued to be Champion Sponsors.

Other loyal event sponsors include Tim Horton’s Hanley Corporation, Wilkinson & Company, Belleville Downtown Improvement Area (BDIA), Veridian Connections and the John M. and Bernice Parrott Foundation.  We also thank the City of Belleville, the Ontario Arts Council and the Province of Ontario for their support.

Our marketing and media partners provide vital services to help us to market and support QAC events and programs.  We are grateful to Post Media The Belleville Intelligencer, Trentonian, County Weekly News and Community Press; Quinte BroadcastingRock 107, Mix 97 and CJBQ; Starboard CommunicationsHits 95.5 and Cool 100; and They Integrated for offering their talents, air time and promotional space all year round.

Chair’s Report – Jenny Woods

As board chair I have been extremely excited about the reduction in expenses and have been working diligently on pulling the QAC into a positive position both financially and operationally. Moving away from event/fundraising and directing our energies on the recognition of the Artist and culture in this community.  We celebrated our 50th year with a bang and are bringing in the 51st year with positive change and vibrant energy.  We get to say goodbye to wonderful staff members who have left a legacy that the future staff will have a tough time to match.  Carol Feeney who is going on to new adventures, Carol Bauer who will be retiring in the summer, and Kim Lidstone who took a full-time position last fall, are our friends and have shown us that we can survive anything as they have with the many challenges they have overcome over the years.  Although they are no longer in our gallery and office, they will always be there participating in the art events.

And now we get to say hello to new faces General Manager Jennifer Hardenne and Bookkeeper Paul Rye. A new Membership & Communication person will be determined within the next few weeks. Please welcome them as they will honour our mandate to support the artists to the best of their ability. I will stay on for one more year to see the transition completed.  We have an excellent board and, with your approval, some new board members to help us in this exciting journey.

Director’s Report – Robert (Bob) Blanchard

I became a director a few months after the 2015 AGM. Since this time I have served as an active and involved member of the Board serving on numerous committees, acting as Co-Chair of the Communications Committee and as Chair of the Plein Air Committee.

As for the future, I am very interested in seeing through the May 2019 Arts en Plein Air Festival and “growing it” as envisioned. The Plein Air Painting Festival would become part of a much larger celebration and showcase of the arts in Belleville and the Quinte Region. We have much support for this expanded community event.

I am also interested in assisting with the re-introduction of the Holiday Home Tour. This event was very successful in the past, enjoyed by hundreds of people each year and served as a positive fundraiser for the QAC.

The Holiday Home Tour (as an example) requires many volunteers. Over the years, our healthy staffing has been greatly depleted and we therefore very much depend on volunteers to maintain our programs. I hope to assist in re-establishing a strong volunteer base.

My main interest would involve direct communication and relationship-building with members and former members (both individuals and organizations) who for various reasons have become disenchanted with the QAC. Their input and involvement is essential if we are to continue to move our organization forward. An example of my efforts in this area would be to help ensure that Belleville artists and arts groups have reciprocity with other local arts councils.

Director’s Report – Lise Lindenberg

As a member of the Events Committee, I helped to organize the successful comedy fundraiser in February. The performers were well-received, and we even raised a bit of money for the QAC after all the expenses were paid. Subsequently, I also helped with Summer of ‘67 and Bellevegas 5.

In my role as Constitutional Chair, I formed a committee to start revising the by-laws (formerly known as the constitution) of the QAC, which had not been updated since 2005. The updated by-laws will comply with the new Ontario not-for-profit regulations that will come into force around 2020. Our committee will continue to meet in 2018 to steadily work on the revisions. Ultimately, we plan to present the newly revised document to the membership at the 2019 AGM.

In December, I started the renovation process that lead to the rejuvenation and enlargement of the Gallery & Gift Shop, and the reduction of office furniture. This work continued past the end of the fiscal year.

Director’s Report – Robert Kranendonk

Over the last year I had to take a leave during the first half due to conflicts in my schedule. I was teaching art classes to adults and children. I did however, voice my opinions via email and in person from time

to time as the meetings were hosted at my place of business.

When there was no longer a conflict, I resumed my attendance at meetings and remained a strong voice for the QAC and in particular the visual artists. I remain a big proponent in bringing our exhibitions to a more modern approach. I am seeking to establish industry standard principles and practices for digital submissions of artwork.

I did offer some free sessions in how to photograph and prepare your art for digital submissions during our last Expressions Exhibition Call, but no one took advantage of it.

I remain committed as a visual artist and professor of Art & Design to help empower the QAC to be a model of artistic excellence in our community.

Director’s Report – Andrea Kerr

My role has been in support of arts education along with Carol Bauer and the Arts Education Work Group which is comprised of Bob Blanchard, Dave Henderson, Bill Tomlinson and Susan Davies. This incredible group of volunteers meets three times a year to select the recipients of the following arts education funding for schools: the Bursary for Visual Arts, and the Bursary for Performing Arts, and the following arts education funding for individual students: the Eugene Lang Memorial Bursary, the Quinte Arts Council Student Bursary, the Susan Richardson Bursary and the Hugh P. O’Neil Student Arts Bursary.

My role has also been in support of many of the programs offered by the QAC. This has included the Expressions Biennial Art Show, the Arts En Plein Air, the Youth Arts Festival and last week’s Art Walk.

This past winter, alongside my fellow Directors, I worked to renovate, reorganize and rejuvenate the QAC’s office and Gallery & Gift Shop. Our re-opening reception this past April was a very exciting turning point for the QAC.

I plan to see that we remain in an iterative process because arts and culture in our community is growing and the work we do as an organization must consistently reflect our members and our mandate. We will cultivate creativity for many years to come!

Programs and events coming soon include Art Walks (July 12 and August 9, 2018), Art in the Community (June 28, 2018), the Mayor’s Luncheon for the Arts (September 13, 2018), the Umbrella Fall Issue (September 1, 2018), World Music and Dance, and the return of Belleville’s Home Tour (November 2018).

Report from the Past Chair – Dan Atkinson

The traditional responsibility of the Past Chair of QAC is Human Resources and the Nominating Committee. The nominating committee will deliver its recommendations as part of the AGM process so this report will deal only with human resources.

This will be a short report this year, in spite of the many changes that have occurred in the current year. One of the concerns I have had in the past has been the lack of a formal process to prepare performance appraisals on all QAC staff and consistent formats for those appraisals when they have been prepared. It is to the benefit of not only QAC but more importantly to the employees, to have a clear understanding of what our expectations are and whether they are being met. With the help of fellow director Bob Blanchard, we reviewed a number of options to not only set proper time frames for these staff reviews but also to have a “standard” appraisal form that is directed at not-for-profit organizations. We believe that we have finally arrived at an appropriate solution, which will be implemented commencing in the current year.

Director’s Report – Brigitte Frances Muir

As a board member of the QAC it has been interesting and worthwhile experience. Over the past year I have worked hard to try and find sources of government grants and helped to try and apply to get more employees at the QAC. I have gone in and volunteered my time with helping organize the umbrella distribution and sat on the hiring committee for the new GM, Bookkeeper and Membership & Communication officer. I think we can all agree that a large focus needs to be on promoting our actual artist members and our members in general. We need to grow our membership and with promotion and creating a system where we provide more to our members. I hope I continue to be that voice and to push the QAC further in this direction. After the QAC had a huge financial struggle over the past year I understand that our city should be doing more. Many were surprised that I did not put my name in for the general manager position, but I feel that I can do more from the inside of City Hall then as general manager of the QAC. As I have put my name forward to run for city council I hope to be an advocate for the arts and be a true supporter of what the arts stand for.