Art's Council finds itself at 'ground zero'
“We’re really at ground zero,” said Doug Sheehy, a long-time board member on the arts council.
Former Executive Director Michielle Noonberg lost her job and four long-time board members tendered their resignations in November to make room for those with new ideas presented at a public forum where the public made 13 suggestions regarding the council’s operation. The new board met on Wednesday, Dec. 17 at the arts council’s gallery to try and set a direction for the non-profit organization, but as the meeting progressed the board members had more questions than answers. The meeting was later adjourned to the Lion and the Lamb British Pub.
New board member Cary Templeton, who also serves as LCC’s dean of student services, reviewed the job description for board members and the arts council’s bylaws given to him at the last meeting.
He presented a lengthy list of questions regarding both for the board to consider. He said according to his reading of the documents, he saw five specific and four general obligations for board members.
“There are 20 questions that captured my attention as I reviewed the LCAC bylaws,” Templeton wrote. “Some of these require just a clarification from existing procedure while others could inform a strategic planning agenda suggested at the November membership and community forum. As a new board member, I am posing these questions to inform my service on the board of directors.”
Sheehy, who chaired the meeting, said the board has operated as it has for many years, and he could not offer any specific answers to Templeton’s questions.
Templeton said the arts council appears to be “a board-driven organization” and members are only afforded “the right to pay their membership dues.”
Given the ideas that arose at the community forum in November, he suggested, “The public may want to have more input.”
The new board will hold an organizational meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 7 at the Student Services Building at Lassen Community College to outline a new direction for the organization, define responsibilities for board members review the bylaws and consider forming new committees.
Proposed action items for the agenda items include a thank you ad for those who participated in the Chocolate Festival and the Ed Susanville Show, the creation of an arts council Web site, forming an expanded partnership with LCC, and a Men of Worth concert at LCC scheduled in March.
“If we can’t get down to what the working board is supposed to be responsible for, we really can’t move on to the next step,” Templeton said. “We need to come up with a master list of jobs and then do them.”
Sheehy said other board members are asking, “What’s my job? What do you want me to do? We have to line that out for them. There is nothing in the bylaws that discusses the duties of a board member.”
Sheehy said the bylaws were written 25 years ago and are probably outdated. The apparent consensus among the board was the bylaws and responsibilities of the board members should be revised and rewritten to reflect the challenges facing the organization today and respond to the organization’s current needs.
Sheehy said the college should be the cultural center of the community. The arts council should “work hand in hand with the college and not as separate entities trying to accomplish the same thing.”
Templeton said one of the college’s strategic planning goals is to become a cultural center in the community, and the college is already a partner in such endeavors and would be interested in strengthening that role.
He also said the college may be able to provide work-study students to help with arts council projects through the Ambassador Program which he administers. The students could be paid with federal dollars.
The board continues to seek new board members. Applications are available at the arts council, and those interested in joining the arts council can also pick up an application at 807 Cottage St. Membership dues are $20 a year. For more information about volunteering at the arts council or applying to the board, contact the arts council at 257-5222.
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