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Arts Humboldt a collective voice for arts community

AH! The arts in Humboldt now have a collective voice. Arts Humboldt (AH) has officially been formed as an umbrella organization for the entire arts community in this region.


The arts in Humboldt now have a collective voice.

Arts Humboldt (AH) has officially been formed as an umbrella organization for the entire arts community in this region.

They're not going to be taking over any arts groups, organizations or activities, stressed Glenda Lees, the president of AH's brand new board of directors.

"We want there to be a united voice for the arts in Humboldt," she said, "so that we're heard better," and that's what AH is meant to provide.

A choir of voices, Lees agreed, is louder than a single voice.

AH will also be a centre for information and resources for arts groups in the area.

An umbrella group is often needed, she explained, to apply for grants for things like having Missoula Children's Theatre come to town. It can also inventory the different arts supplies - like sets, costuming, music and risers - that are in the community so if one group needs to borrow or rent something, they know who has what and who to ask for what.

"Everything is expensive," she said of arts equipment.

"We're not trying to take over. We're trying to facilitate bringing people together, so they have better access to resources and communication," Lees said.

The three words that came to the fore when deciding on a vision statement were "promoting communication, facilitation and programming," she said.

AH will also give Humboldt and area the opportunity to work with other organizations in the province, like the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC) and the Saskatchewan Arts Boards.

It is more difficult for individual groups to access grants or programs from these larger organizations, Lees indicated.

"Literally, if we want anything to happen in this community in a bigger way, if we want to have new things in this place, there has to be a board that oversees some of that," she noted.

The need for a voice for the arts community really came to the fore when the City of Humboldt wanted to discuss the need for a community theatre.

In the spring of 2010, when it was clear that the new HCI being constructed would not include a full theatre, it was Mayor Malcolm Eaton who said there needs to be a unified voice for the arts in the community, Lees said.

That's when it was suggested an arts board be formed, Lees noted.

The city then helped facilitate the founding of the board.

"We want to express our appreciation for the help and support the city provided in getting us going," Lees said.

They are not a city board, but the city "has been very helpful in getting us started. We really appreciate it," Lees said.

In the meantime, it has been decided that Sutherland Theatre, which is currently tied to the old high school building, will be knocked down as neither the Ministry of Education nor the City of Humboldt was interested in putting up funds to upgrade it to modern standards.

Instead, the City indicated it would be interested in possibly building a new theatre as part of a multi-purpose facility attached to the Uniplex.

And now they have a group to discuss this possibility with.

AH will meet regularly about four times a year, Lees believes, but more often if necessary.

What will they discuss at their meetings?

"I think it's going to be everything from maybe organizing some events or small stuff, like purchases for the arts in the Humboldt.... Our business will arise from the members themselves," Lees believes.

"Hopefully, if a new theatre is built, we will all be learning how to share and use it as much as possible, she added.

So far, the board of AH has been focused on getting the organization set up. They have a small board of directors set up, and are now ready for their first annual meeting.

AH will be holding their first annual general meeting on October 20 at 7 p.m. and the Uniplex.

"There will be an information part of the meeting, and (then) election of directors," Lees noted.

They're hoping to get a good cross-section of individuals on their board.

"We want to see people on there that represent all areas of the arts in Humboldt and area," she said - from the local schools of dance, from the local music festival and hopefully from the museum and other visual arts committees.

This is a board for the entire area, Lees stressed, so that those involved in the arts in Muenster, Marysburg or another other surrounding community can get involved.

When they started meeting initially, they had a list of people from various areas of the arts come out to supply information as they were trying to figure things out as a focus group, and they would like all of those areas represented on the official board, Lees indicated.

"Lots of people have been involved," she noted.

"This belongs to the community. It's not just us," Lees said.

"And we're also open to donations," she added, as well as community input.

Members of the initial board of directors for Arts Humboldt includes Lees, Larry Jorgenson, Rob Muench, Tim Thibault, Kevin Brooke and Brian Grest.

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