by Kirby Lindsay, posted 17 October 2014
About half of the Fremont Arts Council (FAC) Board of Directors attended the October 2014 meeting of the Committee Of the Whole (COW.) This showing by the leaders of this unconventional organization may have been what gave this meeting more gravity and focus than usual. It may also have been why discussion turned, quite often, toward money – either the need for funds or potential opportunities to raise some.
Storage Needed NOW!
The meeting started with notice about on-going efforts to clean The Powerhouse, the FAC headquarters and primary workshop space. Maque da Vis, who currently leads this effort, suggested that those who want to be judgmental come and help sort.
The need to clear out the Powerhouse is being pushed by the loss of the FAC’s off-site storage space. The FAC had been using space in a private building that was scheduled for demolition, now taking place. Prior to that location, the FAC has used City of Seattle property for storage – for free. They use the space for storing float bodies, and other materials (including materials belonging to Cirque de Flambé, the Fremont Players and Moisture Festival.)
da Vis, and other volunteers, have culled out most of the items, and decreased the amount considerably. What is left is stored – temporarily and still for free – outdoors, in a shipping container, on property planned for the development of Troll’s Knoll Park, and must be removed by December.
At the COW, attendees agreed on the need to push the City to provide another site. da Vis is getting no response to his requests. An appeal to the City Office of Arts & Culture and the Mayor is needed, all agreed, but no agreement was reached on who will make that appeal.
If the public sector will not help, an attendee said, the private sector must be asked, far and wide, for help. At this point, an outdoor or indoor space can be used, and da Vis will work out the exact size space needed. “We need storage,” stated FAC Board President Peter Toms, “we are nearing critical on this,” although no money has been budgeted for this resource.
The FAC is “in an interesting place right now,” Toms said in his President’s Report. He referenced the effort being led by Jon Hegeman and Linda Hanlon to raise $200,000 a year for three years. The money could go toward permanent, full-time staff for the FAC, and another workshop space for building the FAC Solstice Parade as well as storing parade materials.
Toms also mentioned that the FAC has now taken official ownership of the ‘Brooks Bus’, donated by Brooks Sports. It is a 1981 Leylund 32’ double-decker English bus, and the sale could net the FAC $50,000. Right now, the bus is temporarily parked in Kent, and the FAC Board has authorized $500 for a mechanic’s review. The organization must insure it, Toms explained, and move it, and prepare it for sale. “I’m sorry we can’t keep it for a while,” he said, but the organization needs the money more than the entertainment.
After all, the Powerhouse plumbing needs urgent repair. The bathroom can be used, sparingly, but a Honey Bucket stands outside for daily use. The Board is seeking bids from three City-certified plumbers, on two different options:
- dig up and replace the clogged pipes from the building to the city junction
- place an insert in the current pipes, from the building to the city junction
Either option won’t put the Powerhouse out of commission for long, but both options will likely cost more money than the FAC has.
Meanwhile, the Board has agreed to hire a part-time bookkeeper – who will work with Treasurer Jerry Smith – and a part-time (10 hours a week) Administrative Coordinator, Annie Tran, to do communications. Tran attended this COW meeting, and was given a glowing recommendation by Board Members Susan Harper and Barb Luecke who served on the hiring committee. “We liked Annie’s attitude and enthusiasm,” Luecke said of the Wallingford resident.
At the last Board meeting, they approved Tran’s contract, and discussed ‘employees’ in general. They spoke with appreciation of the efforts of the last Administrative Coordinator, Kudra Migliaccio, and regret for the confusion and some ill-will that developed over the way her contract ended.
Harper also noted that the Board agreed to start forming standing committees to address certain recurring issues of the organization. If you are interested in serving, contact Tran at email@example.com for more information.
Events – Past, Present & Future
The last third of the COW meeting was spent in discussion of FAC celebrations.
In September, the organization held its Luminata Lantern Walk at Green Lake, and Toms reported that, “a lot of fun was had by a lot of people.” FAC volunteers, once again, sold all the pre-made lanterns they had for sale – and raised approximately $1,500 on the whole event.
At the Board Meeting, they set a budget of $1,650 for Trolloween, a performance and neighborhood haunt produced by da Vis for the Fremont Troll’s birthday. Volunteers are needed to serve as monitors for the haunt. The COW discussed the route of the haunt, and its ending, and ways to get participants to finish the evening at the FAC Halloween Party.
Troll-A-Go-Go will take place at Doric Lodge #92 starting at 9p on Oct 31st. The FAC Board authorized a budget of $1,000 for this event, which will include live music, a bar and a costume contest. Originally it was announced that there would be a $5 entry fee, but the COW came to agreement that allowing free entry would get more people to pass by other parties and attend this one.
The next day, November 1st, at 10a, a full neighborhood cooperative clean-up is scheduled. Fremont Chamber of Commerce, Fremont Neighborhood Council and FAC members will gather together to pick-up trash around the area starting at the Fremont Troll. da Vis encouraged Board participation in this community-wide effort.
Finally, Toms mentioned that planning has started for the annual Feast of the Winter Solstice. The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 20th at 7p at the Powerhouse, where the first discussion will be on finding a space large enough, but free or cheap, for the celebration – maybe even one to be shared with the Punk Rock Flea Market.
Last year, Winter Solstice fell on a Saturday, and the celebration included a fundraising dance party. Toms mentioned that planners may discuss the possibility of holding another fundraising dance on Saturday, December 20th, with the actual Feast to take place during the day on December 21st.
If you know of space, for a Feast or long-term storage, or just want to find out more about the FAC – and where it will grow next – attend the next COW meeting on Tuesday, November 11th at 7p at The Powerhouse. These meetings are open-to-the-public, and give attendees a front row view of this unique organization.
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- To Save The Culture Of Fremont
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©2014 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.