Arts council releases annual meeting report

© 2018-Brookings Register

BROOKINGS – On July 19, the board of directors and staff of the Brookings Arts Council (BAC) released the annual general meeting to its membership and the general public.

Due to the current construction with the building, in lieu of a formal meeting, the staff is releasing its report, financial review from the previous year, an overview of the strategic activities of the board in 2017, and plans for the upcoming 2017-2018 organizational year to the public on its website:

The nomination and election of directors for 2017-2018 will be held at the 5:30 p.m. Aug. 16 board meeting. This portion of the meeting will be open to the public, and members are encouraged to attend.

“2017 was a stellar year for the Brookings Arts Council,” Executive Director Heather Kuhlman said in her report to members. “The staff and board have done a remarkable job of providing arts and culture programs for residents and visitors this past year, with Arts Midwest World Fest and a major renovation of our much beloved building.

“Our annual events continued to occur, with some minor modifications and we look forward to taking possession of our building and reopening to the public with our first exhibit, the Fine Art Juried Event. Additional upcoming events are the biannual 6x6 Fundraiser, Eileen Binkley Exhibit and the Festival of Trees. The BAC is continuing to collaborate with other city entities in helping Brookings to be a hub for arts and culture.”

Highlights of the year were a significant increase in attendance at the last two Arts Midwest World Fest residency weeks.

Approximately 2,500 students from the Brookings, Deubrook and Flandreau schools were able to participate with one or more of the ensembles along countless members of the Brookings County residents at the many free workshops held and the culminating Community Concerts.

This global exchange and opportunity was supported by many local businesses with national involvement of 3M and Arts Midwest World Fest. The BAC also continued its third year of The Art Factory, a United Way supported program. Despite of the temporary closing of the building, the financials remained strong thanks to its dedicated membership, grant opportunities and record attendance at the Table’s Beautiful fundraiser. The BAC ended its fiscal year in the black for the fifth year in a row.

Most notable though was the temporary closing of the facility during a 10-month, roof-to-foundation renovation.

Thanks to the planning of the City of Brookings, Historic Preservation Committee and a private donor, the historic Carnegie Library (BAC) building now has been brought into the 21st Century with forced air and heat, new daylight balanced LED lighting in the gallery and classroom areas, stunning hardwood floors throughout our main public areas, the modification of a bathroom into an ADA handicap accessible family bathroom, a spray/kiln room, and state of the art working artist classroom with pull down electrical outlets at each table, a wet display area and so much more. This renovation of the building will also contribute to the positioning of the venue as a hub for arts and culture in Brookings with the Board and staff working on a robust class and gallery schedule to fully utilize our fantastic space.

“I believe that the work done by the board and staff over the past year, along with the building renovation, has positioned the Brookings Arts Council to take on the challenges of tomorrow and the expanded role of contributing to the growth of the art and culture economy of Brookings,” Kuhlman continued.

The BAC marked the departure of one of its long time directors, John Miller. After many years on the board of directors and executive committee, Miller announced that he would be stepping down. Although Miller will no longer be on the board, he remains very committed to the BAC.

The Aug. 16 meeting will also mark the entrance of new board member John Capone, a longtime Brookings resident and art lover who has strong ties to the arts. Capone will be welcomed to the board along with returning directors Mary Husman, Linda Hoffelt and Chuck Bennis at the Aug. 16 board meeting.

The 2017-2018 board will work on the strategic plan for 2017-2018, which will continue to focus on the Brookings Arts Council’s ongoing support of Brookings artists and of the arts, culture and community of Brookings.

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