Annual Meeting Notes

I want to thank Joan Teaford for her sincere dedication to SVAC acting as our Interim Executive Director for the past year and a few months. She gave countless hours of work and developed cost cutting measures and new strategies for developing contact and support of our artist members.

One of the best things to happen at SVAC this year was the discovery and hire of our new Executive Director, Elizabeth Paxson. Elizabeth has a business background with experience in design and economic development. She has a dedicated work ethic, but the best description of her unique abilities came from one of her references, “She is tireless in her commitment to her work and the support she gives her team. She was amazing at finding the best qualities in people and managing them to find success. Weaknesses - she never said no to a project or request!”

Thank you for participating in the vote for new Trustees and the revision of our By Laws. We had an excellent turn out.

I would like to welcome our four new Board members, Shelagh Costello Burke, George Kalinsky, Anthony Surratt, and Robert Van Degna. As well, I am happy to announce that Leslie Keefe has been elected to another term. I would like to thank our Board members who are “retiring”, Orland Campbell, Carol Patterson, and Stanley Stroup, who is a past president as well.

This last year we spent a lot of time re-examining our needs producing a plan for a clear and fiscally responsible way forward. We have reconfigured our staff assignments and begun developing new programming and events. We have cut costs from salary reduction and energy saving work done in Wilson.

We now have our beautiful Permanent Collection on rotating exhibits in Gallery One all season. Thank you to Georgine MacGarvey for tirelessly cataloguing the Permanent Collection and organizing the Dorset Then and Now Show that exhibited original SVAC artists with some of our prominent current artists in the Wilson Gallery.

Our Artists Members Show was once again given premiere show time at the height of the summer season, resulting in more exposure and sales to our increasing artists membership. One of the most encouraging developments of the past season was to see our artists membership grow. We also give our artists the chance for more exposure through our Artist in Residence program, where an artist will work in one of our galleries and have the chance to interact with our visitors.

In midsummer, our show in Wilson Galleries was “I Choose Film” of film based artworks. The art world is returning with a fever to film photography again.

We have several new art benefits from Studio Uncorked (the delightful wine and painting experience), new private art classes, live sculpture class (possible with donations for art stands by Diana Bickford), and supporting our artists downtown with the initiation of Art Manchester as pop up galleries creating life and art in unrented buildings, donated by the owners.

We have an SVAC newsletter featuring a member artist that comes by email and is available on Facebook. Our social media presence is getting stronger along with major reviews on Trip Advisor.

Our involvement with the area schools has been significant over the past year. With schools reducing their budgets in the arts, SVAC is even more important now than ever. We opened our summer season with Art in the Schools, a gallery wide show of art from all of the area schools, celebrated by the annual Pizza Party, a fun filled no cost show opening for family, friends, and the community. Local art teachers take advantage of bringing their classes to view many of our show throughout the season.

We had some great fundraising events this year, including a cocktail party for the opening of Japan Week and a dinner, actually IN Yester House celebrating the 100th birthday of Yester House. There are many things to celebrate next year and you will be invited to participate! I hope to see ALL of you there.

ITVfest was a new event for Manchester this October. It was energizing to see the excitement and buzz of all the artist filmmakers in town. SVAC was proud to host the VIP Red Carpet Gala for the awards ceremony. I hope you were able to see some of the screenings. Put it on your calendar of the new Manchester events for next year!

We had a successful season with the Manchester Music Festival. It is delightful to have a collaboration with them in the Arkell Pavillion for their summer season. We worked on a program to have some of the students perform in the galleries for their practice sessions and hope to develop more of that in 2018.

We collaborated with Behind the Moon Entertainment to bring 4 performances to the Arkell Pavillion this summer. A wide range of styles were available from country western to Broadway, Boogie Woogie, and the music of Billy Joel.

Café Sora doubled their service this season, due to magnificent food and better joint marketing by SVAC. We also had a new Japan Week event in June that showcased beautiful kimonos, obis, Ikebana flower arranging by Chie Addington to Koto music played by Katsuko Lord. They also gave a sold out sushi class and Orland Campbell gave a talk of Japanese gardens.

One of our major decisions this year was to decide to close our physical facilities for the winter. We have commitments until the end of December this year, but we will close all of the buildings, drain the pipes, and turn down the utilities until mid April, when we will wake the dragons to prepare for our May opening. For the 2018-19 winter, we will close at the end of October and reopen in mid April. This will bring a major cost savings to SVAC and we will be able to focus on the part of the year that we have the most participation from our members, the community, and visitors.

We have had a very positive year with art membership and sales up and our fundraising efforts have shown some real success.

It’s an exciting time to be a member of SVAC. We feel we are a part of a new energy in the public vision of Manchester and developing of strong community direction.

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Southern Vermont Arts Center
930 SVAC Dr. 
Manchester, VT 05254


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