September 27, 2006

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Delaware State Arts Council Meeting

September 27, 2006

Lewes Public Library

Sussex County

Council members Present: Julia McCabe, Theda Blackwelder, Steve Boyden, Gary Grunder, Annabelle Kressman, Brian Miller, Lise Monty, Keyla Rivera-Rodriguez, Lawler Rogers, Ann Schenck, Susan Shipley, Debbie Wicks,

Council members Absent: John Ranney, Allen Sessoms, Joyce Hill Stoner, Carson Zullinger

Guest: Harriet Smith Windsor

Welcome/Approval of Minutes

Judy McCabe, Chair of the Delaware State Arts Council, called the meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. Annabelle Kressman made a motion to approve the minutes of June 27, 2006, which was seconded by Lise Monty and approved unanimously.

Ms. McCabe welcomed Secretary of State Harriet Smith Windsor and thanked her for her support of the arts and for her recommendation to increase funding for the arts in Fiscal Year 2007.

Chair's Report, Judy McCabe

  • Ms. McCabe and Laura Scanlan attended the National Assembly of State Arts Agency's Directors' conference in Anchorage, Alaska. All 50 states were represented. Attendees were presented with a tremendous amount of information geared to Council Chairs and Agency Directors. Topics addressed included Advocacy and challenges in increasing participation in the arts, and recruiting volunteers to contribute their services to the arts.

  • Ms. McCabe introduced Harriet Smith Windsor, who announced that Laura Scanlan, Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts, was offered, and accepted, a position as Senior Vice President of Development at the Delaware Community Foundation. Secretary Windsor stated that we were fortunate to have Laura for five years and commended her for an excellent job.

Secretary Windsor then announced that Paul Weagraff has been appointed to be the new Director, with Susan Salkin as Deputy Director.

Director's Report, Laura Scanlan

  • While the Division has made great strides in implementing the Strategic plan, some objectives still remain to be completed. From public input, it is clear that the goals outlined in the plan remain relevant. With that in mind, Ms. Scanlan proposed extending the plan for two years (through 2008), to sustain the momentum the Division has gained with the current goals and objectives and to coincide with the remainder of the Governor's term. Council approved the proposal.

  • Gary Grunder represented the Council at a two-day meeting on facilities planning and funding, presented by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participants discussed facilities issues relevant to many organizations in Delaware, including the management of a new facility and financing operations in a new facility.

Gary Grunder stated that the meeting was very useful and daunting. The organizations that attended learned much about readiness for considering facility construction and/or expansion, and where an organization needs to be institutionally to take on such a large responsibility.

Laura Scanlan presented a corollary project of the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF): a financial trend analysis, using public financial information (IRS 990s) from arts organizations over a five-year period to identify key trends in the arts sector. NFF may solicit feedback from organizations to incorporate anecdotal information with the statistical data that they collect. The Welfare Foundation has provided a $25,000 grant to help fund this study. The Division intends to use this information to educate the organizations and the general public, and to develop technical assistance initiatives to assist organizations in building institutional capacity.

Council Committee Reports

Advocacy Committee, Theda Blackwelder

  • Due to major efforts of arts advocates, the Division received an increase of $332,000 for grants. These funds will help implement the public impact grant program as well as provide an increase in Individual Artist Fellowship grants. A letter of gratitude was sent to Governor Minner, the Secretary of State, and the Legislators. A separate letter was sent to all grantees encouraging them to send letters to legislators acknowledging and thanking them for the increase.

  • The Advocacy Committee is planning for another Arts Advocacy meeting in January 2007.

Nominating Committee, Annabelle Kressman

  • Ms. Kressman held a conference call with Nominating Committee members to discuss the upcoming term expirations of Council members. Five Council members' terms will expire next year. Annabelle stated that the Governor approved legislation sponsored by Senator Margaret Rose Henry and Representative Joseph DiPinto for some Council members to serve an additional year in order to establish a rotating system of alternating terms.

  • Ms. Kressman encouraged Council to submit their Council nominations for consideration.

  • Carson Zullinger has been appointed as a Council member. Lise Monty observed that Carson, as an artist and photographer, will be a wonderful addition to the council.

PR and Marketing Committee, Lise Monty and Izzy Mead

  • The new ArtGuide is being distributed. Ms. Monty acknowledged all of the hard work and the incredible amount of detail put into this publication by Izzy Mead for the production of this publication.

  • ArtGuide committee chair Carl Schnee has suggested the possibility of having someone else print or publish the ArtGuide, but after reviewing the cost and distribution of ArtGuide, it remains most cost effective to have The News Journal continue with the printing and distribution.

  • The Division facilitated a meeting with DE Today magazine to discuss arts coverage. Maria Hess, Senior Editor, met and discussed coverage with downstate organizations.

  • Ms. Mead is working on a project to get additional qualified writers to critique arts programs. This initiative will be a permanent part of the Division's website "Heartbeat of the Arts."

  • Laura Scanlan and Ms. Mead met with the Council's marketing committee about Artline. It was decided that Artline would only be published for special issues such as the annual report, IAF Fellowship Winners, and Grant Awardees.

  • On October 8, a new column will premiere in The News Journal, a regular column called “Cultural Life” that will report about the arts in general.

  • Ms. Mead emphasized the importance of building relationships with the media. She attended a News Journal luncheon which was attended by representatives of the Cape Gazzette, El Tiempo, Dover Post, and others. Discussion focused on media coverage of the arts and the needs of artists and arts organizations.

  • Ms. Mead solicited opinions from the Council about the articles written in ArtGuide, particularly with the new process of using a variety of freelance writers.

Brian Miller asked if the organizations in Dover represented in ArtGuide had been pre-selected. Izzy responded that some organizations in Dover were represented by their own choice, others had been added. She stated that the next issue of ArtGuide would include additional organizations to provide a more comprehensive list.

Grants Committee, Ann Schenck

Ms. Schenck reported that the financial information provided in past grant applications warranted a more thorough assessment than panels were traditionally trained to apply. Panelists are not always trained to analyze financial statements. To address this issue, the Division contracted with The Part Time Controller in FY2007 to review and report on arts organizations financial information: IRS 990s and audits. They have conducted similar reviews for Arts Councils in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Part Time Controller prepared a short narrative with an appraisal of each organization, reviewing one year of financial data.

Program staff and Lise Monty, Judy McCabe, Gary Grunder and Ann Schenck met with two members of this organization and noted that they were very professional with a thorough presentation. The next step in this process is to study the results and identify the organizations that are financially weak and programmatically strong, those that would likely benefit from targeted technical assistance. The staff will review "next steps" in this process to assist organizations.

The Council made two recommendations related to the panel process: 1) that we try to have an accountant on each panel, and 2) that we consider going to a two-year cycle for Project Support grants.

Staff Reports

Paul Weagraff

  • Paul Weagraff is finalizing the Division's application to the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), due October 6, 2006. The Division is required to submit a full application, including supplemental materials, this year as part of their three-year grant cycle. In the "off" years, state agencies are required to submit a much less comprehensive interim report.

  • Mr. Weagraff is managing the Poetry Out Loud program for Delaware. Mr. Weagraff announced that the state finals will take place on March 13, 2007, at the Schwartz Center in Dover. Materials have already been provided to the schools statewide, and the response to date has been positive.

Susan Salkin

  • Susan Salkin reported that the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation is planning to put together a small roster of performers available for regional touring, funded, in part, with a grant subsidy through the National Endowment of the Arts' new American Masterpieces Program. Susan surveyed a sampling of Delaware performing arts presenters to solicit their interest in the artists being considered for the tour.

  • Ms. Salkin met with Michael Miller, Manager of the Delaware Folk life Program in the Division of Parks and Recreation, to discuss the prospect of submitting a new Folklife component in our application to the NEA. This new opportunity for federal funds would support Delaware folk arts projects. If the Division decides to pursue this application, due in early October, both parties agree to focus on a project that is already well developed and in progress: programming and enhanced interpretation of the Delaware Folk Art Collection at the soon-to-open Blue Ball Barn.

Annabelle Kressman suggested that we have Mr. Miller come and speak to the Council and possibly host a Council Meeting in the Dairy Barn. The new facility is scheduled to open in the spring.

  • The Division of Libraries, with support from the Division of the Arts, will hold a Book Festival on November 4 in First State Heritage Park of Dover. The festival will include: presentations by Poet Laureate Fleda Brown and author Libby Street; children's activities provided by the Delaware Art Museum in conjunction with their exhibit of the works of children's author/illustrator David Macauley; and two panels of book publishing professionals from HarperCollins, Random House, and Simon & Schuster.

Kristin Pleasanton

  • Carson Zullinger photographed images for artists that needed digital images. Artists were able to receive photos at a greatly discounted rate. The first 5 images were free, 10 images for $25.00. The images cost $5.00 per image.

  • The Biggs Museum and the Delaware Division of the Arts extended their partnership to annually have a reception for Individual Arts Fellowship awardees. Last year both Governor Ruth Ann Minner and Secretary of State Harriet Smith Windsor attended the reception. The artists were very honored that the Governor and Secretary of State were present.

  • In FY2007 the Division received a record number of artist fellowship applications, totaling 88 applications. Applications will be adjudicated in a process administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and their recommendations will be presented at the December 2006 Council meeting for review and approval.

Sheila Ross

From reviewing grant applications and panel comments, four areas have been identified for technical assistance to arts organizations:

  • Support for Long Range Planning. Proposal: Provide mini-workshops, led by consultants, for organizations who express interest in this assistance.

  • Support for grant-writing and budgeting. Proposal: Incorporate grant-writing tips and budget examples in the December 2006 grant information workshops.

  • Year-round Technical Assistance. Proposal: On the off-year of the Arts Summit, the Division will convene constituents for the purpose of in-depth exploration of topics that are timely and important to the arts.

  • Developing Arts Leaders. Proposal: Each January, the DE Nature Society presents a professional Leadership Institute. The Division is piloting a partnership with the DE Nature Society to sponsor arts administrators in the January 2007 Leadership Institute.

Laura Scanlan suggested that the Division routinely do a focused survey to see what the organizations' needs are in all three counties. She suggested an informal round table discussion be held within the state three times per year.

Gary Grunder will send other ideas for Sheila to follow up with via e-mail or a phone call.

New Business

Two-Year Grant Proposal, Paul Weagraff

The staff reviewed the possibility of a two-year grant cycle for General Operating Support grants. This would entail a full application every other year and an interim report in the "off" year. Mr. Weagraff observed that most organizations do not dramatically alter their programming in a two-year period. The full application would be reviewed by the panel and the interim report would be reviewed by in-house staff. Staff will meet to finalize the details and review the ramifications of a two-year application cycle, for review by the Council at their December meeting. From the applicants' point of view, the application process would not be altered significantly.

Ann Schenck made a motion to approve the staff to move forward to work out the logistics on the two year bi-annual submission which was seconded by Lawler Rogers and approved unanimously.

Annabelle Kressman suggested that we begin this process on the off year of the Summit.

Strategic Plan Proposal, Laura Scanlan

After the annual review of the three-year strategic plan, the achieved objectives, and continued relevance of the current goals, Laura Scanlan proposed to extend the plan through 2008. Lise Monty noted that if we did not extend this, that we would have to do another plan. Annabelle Kressman said that we should wait until there is a new Governor before we do another strategic plan so that we can be in conjunction with the new administration. Annabelle Kressman made a motion to extend the strategic plan for an additional two years. Theda Blackwelder seconded the motion which was approved unanimously.

Old Business

Annabelle Kressman wanted to know the status of City Theater. Staff responded that City Theater had reduced their budget and production schedule. City Theater anticipated having a big fundraiser in October and that they were renegotiating some debt. Their next production will be in December. They will convene after the production to see how the fundraiser and the performance went and to review their financial position. In the meantime, the Division has only given them partial funding. Subsequent funding for this year is dependant upon their success in the first half of the season.

Center for Creative Arts – Sheila Ross reported that an accessibility complaint was registered against them. ADA law requires that organizations offer reasonable accommodations in all publicly funded programs. Allegations were brought against the Center for Creative Arts regarding a child that has extensive food allergies. The child was to attend the CCA's summer camp program but the CCA would not take responsibility in administering an epipen. The CCA rationale is that they do not have adequately trained medical staff on the premises, and therefore, are not able to administer the type of medical treatment the family requested. The National Endowment for the Arts, federal Civil Rights Office, and Division of the Arts have been alerted. The Division is working with the NEA and state Attorney General's office to assure we are fulfilling our responsibility in this matter.

Delaware Symphony – Annabelle Kressman expressed concern about comments she has heard about the symphony's stability and financial situation, in light of the fact that three staff members have left in recent weeks. Council members shared in this concern. Ms. Scanlan met with the Director of the DE Symphony a month ago and reported that there was a lot of uncertainty. She also noted that the Marketing Director, who recently left as a paid employee, has volunteered to work two days a week free of charge.

Ms. Kressman asked if there was anything that the Council could do, since this was a serious situation. She also expressed frustration that the organization waited to request assistance. Laura Scanlan stated that the Division is poised to assist the symphony, but to date, no request for assistance has been made.

Theda Blackwelder made a motion to close the meeting at 3:10 p.m. which was seconded by Gary Grunder and approved unanimously.

DSAC Minutes for 9/27/06 Page of

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