saranac lake
Notes from Meetings - Annual Meeting - Tues Nov 11, 2014

Present: approximately 20 members were present; no notes were taken


Due to the lack of officers, and no one has stepped forward to accept a leadership position for 2015, we chose to have an open meeting to share concerns and see how the membership would like to proceed.

An online survey was conducted and the results were shared (26 members responded) and discussed:

1. What is the No. 1 thing you expect out of ArtWorks (choose one)
  • 71% - it's a way to advertise my business
  • 17% - it's a source of information about exhibit opportunities and other events
  • 13% - a way to connect with other artists
  •  Comments
    • all of the #1 options are important.
    • promote sales
    • joint face to the community for art requirements
    • connect & support other artists and their events

2. What are some functions you would like to see ArtWorks continue/initiate? (Choose as many as apply)

  • 96% - promote Saranac Lake as an arts destination
  • 76% - coordinate art events; provide a comprehensive schedule
  • 72% - represent the arts in local affairs (village, chamber, tourism council, etc.)
  • 56% - provide a nurturing environment for the arts; help young artists, assist artists setting up new business ventures, etc.
  • Comments
    • coordinate with other events and venues to broaden the opportunities to promote and market artists and their work
    • general commaraderie among artists, both visitors and residents... social events
    • LPCA is initiated an effort to create a combined advertising/calendar... early in its discussion at brown bag lunch
    • all of the above
    • promoting Saranac Lake as an arts destination is probably the most important - the others will happen as a result of that

3. Leadership & organization are critical to the function of ArtWorks. What's the most important direction you think ArtWorks should choose? (select 1)

  • 64% - become a not-for-profit organization with a board of directors and a paid coordinator
  • 12% - continue as is, with elected, unpaid officers, but hire someone to be a coordinator
  • 12% - become an "arts center" with a physical loation and paid staff
  • 4% - none of these
  • 0% - disband
  • Comments
    • Bluseed is already a non-profit with a paid coordinator - could ArtWorks be an extension of Bluseed?
    • go back to the original purpose of advertising and promoting the arts; allow other already in place not-for-profits and the other organizations resume sponsoring and running events; Artworks appears to be competing for the time and talents of an already too busy group of olunteers; events like the ArtWalks seem to have the capacity to find a way to run without ArtWorks taking it over.
    • a definitive headquarters/office would be ideal
    • long term goals might be "become an arts center" with a physical location and paid staff and my first choice might also be a long term goal with the second option (continue as is) a more realistic direction
    • how wonderful it would be if SL had a building like an Art/Music/Theatre performing center! It seems to be the time for such an effort. Lots of interest in this and even to occpy an existing space or to build a new one is there, I believe. Not-for-profit is a foregone conclusion along with all the participating groups.
    • if would be nice to have a physical space in a public loaction - a small office with space to dispaly some artwork. It needs to be accessible, downtown, to be useful. if not - I would expect a piad coordinator to work from home. Being part of another organization, uch as bluseed or Pendragon, already not-for-profits, might be a way to being operating, except it woud limtie our abilities to apply for some of the same grants that they do.

4. How should ArtWorks be raising funds to operate (choose as many as apply)

  • 69% - all of these
  • 50% - membership dues, currently $150 for professional members, $25 for supporting members
  • 27% - grants , corporate sponsorship, and other forms of financial assistance
  • 27% - profitable events (registration fees, commissions on sales, etc.)
  • Comments
    • grants #1, membership fees #2
    • membership fees should continue to support the advertising. We should collect many more supporting members. Events should be self-funded and organizers should be encouraged to raise some money for Artworks - especially if we can get a paid coordinator

5. We've tried to have a Business Sponsor program for 2 years, raising less than $3000 each year. Should this be continued and how? (choose one)

  • 46% - hire someone to seek corporate or grant funding (ArtWorks would need to be a not-for-profit)
  • 21% - hire someone to organize the Business Sponsor program
  • 21% - Give up the program and let each event organizer seek out their own sponsors
  • 12.5% - Continue the program - get volunteers to contact businesses personally
  • Comments
    • the current program is one shot to support ArtWorks - if you split it up - all folks become solicitators. It is the hardest part of any event - perhaps entry fees should be more reflective of the actual cost to put on the event. Hiring the wrong person can be costly. Coud it be a member benefit propsotion with an organization like the Chamber?
    • merge with Bluseed, as a member driven nonprofit arts direction that involves and benefits our community
    • it seems that various events like the Plein Air Festival and Studio tour already solicity donations and sponsors too on their own, yes?
    • find volunteer to write grants
    • continue the Business Sponsor program because I think some community businesses like being recognized as supporters of the arts. If each member was required to get one Business Sponsor, it would be so helpful. But if we could hire an "arts coordinator" - part of their job should be to organize and operate the Business Sponsor program.


    • the few are carrying the many - how can other artists get involved? perhaps a soiree featuring an art auction from member artists would be a way for artists who do not have that "need to work for the common good" vibe to contribute some of their work for sale would work. People have to want to be part of something constructive. No amount of arm twisting is going to make them come forward. Promote the results you have seen. Anyone wo does not recognize the value ou folks have brought to the greater SL area  is not paying attention
    • meeting times/days perhaps need to be rethought if one is to get more people involved. Make it a social gathering time as well have definite committee assignments and schedules spelled out, available for all members to see and volunteer for. Thanks to all who have been doing so much to advance the visibility of the arts in our area
    • my ideas for the future of ArtWorks tend to be ambitious. I feel the organization is poised to move to the "next level", whatever that is, but needs a new level of support, either from within the organizations' membership or bringng in arts "supporters" to be involved to make that move
    • ideally, I think becoming a not-for-profit organization would give ArtWorks a better chance of being a viable organization. Grant monies, if acquired, could help lessen the load on the few members who have kept ArtWorks afloat. The question still remains, who is qualified and willing to contribute the time to go through this application process, etc. I do believe sponsorship is worth pursuing from large businesses and corporations (i.e. Cape Air). As far as merging with another not-for-profit, I donít know enough to comment on whether this would benefit current members. The question is, what other organizations exist that would give people (artists) the exposure that ArtWorks currently provides? Any of the above mentioned comments still require people to get involved. ArtWorks isnít the first to struggle with the topic. How do other organizations do it? Perhaps requiring attendance at a certain number of meetings in the year? There is no guarantee this will yield more involvement but may be worth a try. Maybe attendance can be linked to membership dues. One model to considerÖ.. One not-for-profit quilt guild, which I was a member, thrives because they keep the dues minimal, the business end of the meeting short (in-depth discussion is for another time), members have a chance to socialize and share a most recent piece or antique - this is meant to encourage and inspire others. There may be a short workshop, how-to at the end of the meeting and is always optional. You donít have to be a quilter to be a member. I was surprised to hear the large number of the members that donít quilt but enjoyed the socialization and seeing peopleís work. ArtWorks currently has a Ďprofessionalí only requirement but it might be worth discussing how the artists, admirers and supporters can work together to breathe new life into the organization. Respectfully submitted and thank you very much for reaching out to the membership.
    • ArtWorks is a great catalyst for the artist scene in Saranac Lake and the region. I believe it needs to stay a viable matter what it takes. Perhaps the non-profit route will make its members more accountable and involved and allow for more funding opportunities. Hiring someone to coordinate all the many tasks that ArtWorks handles would be a better idea than letting it continue to rest on volunteers. That said, a dedicated Volunteer Coordinator would also be valuable as a separate hired position. There's a lot at stake...
    • Promoting SL as an "Arts Destination" is vital and useful. Got to get funding for that new Performing Arts Center - local talent already here for applying for those grants etc.
    • There needs to be a coordinated arts calendar that each organization/event could post their own events on. We try to have a comprehensive list on our web site, but to create that, the Chamber, Enterprise, Bluseed, Pendragon, Artists Guild, NorthWind, Carousel, Historic Saranac Lake, Library, NCPR, etc. calendars all need to be checked. None of them have all the events! And instead of someone from ArtWorks having to research and locate all these events, they should either be sent or directly posted by the individual organizations. This might help us avoid having too many events on the same date. An "arts coordinator" could also help send out press releases. Again, if each organization/event sent their press releases, well in advance, to a coordinator, they could be spaced out when they are sent to various media. Or combined, when appropriate.

  • We should keep the organization going
  • Promoting the arts and transforming SL into an arts destination is important
  • Hiring someone may be the solution

A group of volunteers agreed to meet and discuss ideas on how ArtWorks might proceed. They met Nov 19 and formed an interim steering committee and will meet again on Dec 9. Stay tuned for more information.
Next Meeting: Dec 9