Reconciliation? Compromise? Yeah, let’s do it!


I have been blogging intensively about the situation at the Vermillion Area Arts Council lately–especially regarding the proposed sale of the Washington Street Arts Center.

I am pleased to report that I’ve had some positive conversations with a couple of Board members over the past two days or so, and am beginning to feel that things are looking up.  I am still concerned about a lot of the rumors and perceptions swirling around this thing–the feeling that all is not above-board, that there is a secret buyer in the background, that something just ain’t right and we (the members) don’t have all the information we should.

These rumors and perceptions have grown in the absence of clear and open communication between the Board and the membership.  Among these failures of communication are the lack of names and contact information on the new website and recent mailings, as well as a failure to contact past members (even as recently as last year, since many of these folks simply haven’t yet renewed) about the proposed sale.  Also, the lack of a clear message about the proposed sale–that this is not a “done deal,” and that member input is strongly desired on this decision.  Then there is the Needs Assessment being used as a tool to urge the sale, without regard for the Assessment’s clear message that the property should be kept and maintained.

Altogether, these failures of communication have destabilized the organization, and it will take some effort to bounce back.  I am hoping that Friday evening’s meeting at the WSAC will have a good turnout, and that we can work to restabilize and reconcile, and then, hopefully, begin work on restoring our wonderful, albeit maintenance-needy facility.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Robin on February 13, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    I like your determination!

  2. Posted by littlegardenerontheplains on February 14, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Rebecca, It should be apparent to everyone that your efforts to prevent the proposed disasterous sale of the Washington Street Arts Center is a mark of your care and concern about our community and the state of the arts here. For what it is worth, I do think you are an artist, and your life is your largest work.

  3. Rebecca,
    While I respect your opinion, my hope is that you will also respect mine.

    The Vermillion Area Arts Council is an entity created by a group of dedicated VOLUNTEERS who have been given the task of promoting and supporting the ARTS in the Vermillion community. The board of directors is again a group of “VOLUNTEERS” that I believe in the last two years has done an outstanding job!

    It is always good policy to provide a safe, clean, healthy and inviting facility that we as Vermillionites can be PROUD of and feel comfortable being a part of.

    I am one of many that has confidence in the current board of directors to do what is best for the arts in Vermillion!!

    Please feel free to share my opinion with others.

  4. Posted by flyingtomato on February 14, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks, Sandy. I absolutely respect your opinion.

    Yes, they (and we) are volunteers, and they are likely doing what they think is the best they can do to support the arts (and humanities is also part of that mission, too, if you read the ByLaws).

    It often feels like an overwhelming responsibility.

    Sometimes, if it becomes too overwhelming, the best policy is to step aside and/or ask for help. I do not think it is the best policy to move to purchase another building and raise the possibility of selling the membership’s property without first consulting that membership.

    I also think the proposed new facility is further from being that safe, clean, healthy, and inviting place we desire than the Washington Street Arts Center is presently, and can be more so in the future, with member/volunteer support.

    I have been a member/volunteer for about a decade now, and was on the Board for about a year and a half. I left the Board about a year ago to focus on the other ways in which I volunteer with the VAAC and organizations it is partnered with–helping at events, rounding up donations, making food, and running the farmers market and community garden.

    Thank you for your comment. Hope to see you at the meeting Friday night!

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