Cornwall & Counties Arts and Culture Council being formed, board named


After attending the 2012 Arts and Culture Summit, South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds suggested at the Oct. 2 South Dundas council meeting that the municipality take a ‘wait and see’ approach to the newly formed organization.

A regional arts council is being formed, and that council’s board of directors includes one South Dundas resident.

Although there has been no funding request from the organization, Byvelds spoke, in general, about the challenge municipalities may have with supporting arts councils. “Traditionally municipal funds are for things like roads, sewers and bridges. It may be hard to draw from municipal funds for culture. They will really have to demonstrate that there is a benefit,” he said.

Last month, the SDG Community Futures Development Corporation (SDG CFDC) hosted the 2012 Arts & Culture Summit at Aultsville Theatre in Cornwall, Ontario where the arts and culture sector voted on an interim board of directors to help the sector that voted them into existence to collaborate and grow.

The 2012 Arts & Culture Summit was held by the SDG CFDC and in participation with The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG), The City of Cornwall, The Eastern Ontario Training Board, The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport and the Government of Canada (FedDev Ontario) to provide much needed information on what is required to form an arts council for the region. 

The guest speakers included, Esther Bryan, an established artist and Quilt of Belonging founder from South Glengarry, Karen Ennis, Program Manager from WorkInCulture, Loree Lawrence, Community and Multidisciplinary Arts Officer for the Ontario Arts Council, Carol Feeney, Executive Director of Quinte Arts Council and Clayton Windatt Co-Founder of Nippissing Arts Council. 

The guest speakers each spoke about the importance of the role of an arts council from their community and how that role is unique and individual to the community it serves. They also spoke about the importance of collaboration and communication.

The SDG CFDC based on its research and development of how arts councils have been formed in other regions in Ontario decided that it was important to create a grass roots movement and have the arts and culture sector vote on and interim Board of Directors. 

“This grass roots movement is community economic development 101,” said SDG CFDC’s Executive Director François Désormeaux. 

“We saw the art and culture sector in our region in need and we provided them with the tools required to grow and expand their sector. The Arts Council is that tool.” The SDG CFDC graciously paid for the not for profit articles of incorporation for the Cornwall & the Counties Arts and Culture Council and will continue to support their efforts to make sure they get off on the right foot. “There are legal expenses and various processes to make sure the Board is established and running smoothly and we are there to ensure they do things correctly. Those first steps can be daunting, confusing and overwhelming to young arts councils and we want them to focus on serving their community,” Désormeaux said. 

When asked how the CFDC will continue to support the Art Council in other ways, Désormeaux stated, “We will allow our Cultural Development Coordinator, Bruce Davis to continue to work with them as long as they need it. He will ensure the correct steps are made and that they set off in the right direction to serve the needs of the entire region.” 

When asked how he may set this council off in the right direction Davis stated, “I have been doing a lot of research on arts councils – what’s successful and what is failing so I will be providing that information to this council so they can begin building direction. I will also ensure the communication remains constant and flowing from the regional stakeholders as well as community partners so that the council knows best how to serve the community.”

The Cornwall & The Counties Arts and Culture Council Board of Directors are: Stephen Davies, from South Dundas who has worked in finance for almost 30 years, Jason Setnyk, a teacher in Cornwall, Ann Brady from North Dundas who is a screenwriter, Amanda Marini Rohde, a teacher, dancer and host of a cable show on the arts, Sandra Van der Veer, a Cornwall belly dancer and policy writer, Marie Morrell, founder of the Parade of Nations and a local museum, Charlotte King, a painter from Akwesasne, Carolyn Davis Waldryn, a published author from Cornwall, Richard Salem lives in Long Sault and is a graphic designer, Betty Healy, an author and strategic coach with business experience, Noella Cotnam, an artist and owner of Sign It Signs and Design in Williamstown, Dan Archambault, an internationally renown artist, promoter and consultant and Chuck Leclair an event promoter from Cornwall.

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