by Kirby Lindsay, posted 17 December 2014
The Fremont Arts Council (FAC) held its monthly Committee Of the Whole (COW) meeting at its workshop, The Powerhouse, in spite of the beehive of activity swirling around as volunteers built pieces of the upcoming FAC Feast of the Winter Solstice, on December 20th. While the setting showed a clear distinction between those who want to talk about a project – those sitting for the COW – and those who prefer to do a project – those constructing headdresses and other decorations.
Those who still want to know what was discussed at the December 2014 COW, without the talking, here are highlights!
FAC Administrative Coordinator Annie Tran has been working, with a volunteer, on updating the organization’s website, and “making it more user friendly,” she said. They’ve added a calendar, and plan to allow reservations of the workshop space in the near future. The FAC Board meeting minutes are being posted on the website too. An effort is being made to direct people to the website for information, and traffic has doubled (they use Google Analytics) as planning has ramped up for the Feast. Tran asked everyone to give feedback on the website changes.
The FAC Operations Committee remains open to all those interested in creating a strategic plan, identifying potential donors and volunteers, and reinforcing the FAC identity. A strategic plan workshop is being considered for January or February of 2015, possibly as an addition to the annual Parade retreat.
Petite Troll Parade
Jen Bay gave the good news that she’s decided to repeat the Petite Troll Parade from last year. This is a mini-parade with tiny floats (possibly miniatures or prototypes of Solstice Parade floats,) inspired by the ‘Tit Rex Parade held in New Orleans during Mardi Gras season. Bay would like to hear from anyone interested in participating/assisting in this year’s event. Right now she plans to walk the parade through the Ballard Farmers Market on February 15th, although with enough interest the group may also walk through the Fremont Sunday Market the week before. Reach Bay through the FAC at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kudra Migliaccio also reported that the FAC will hold a Mardi Gras party (potentially at the same site in South Seattle where they will hold the 2014 Feast) on February 14th. The party is still in the early planning stages, and volunteers are being sought to help organize and produce this celebration.
The FAC Board continues to monitor several critical situations – the restroom of The Powerhouse requires expensive repairs, long-term storage of the float bodies and other materials will be lost soon, again, and elections for the Board will be held in February 2015. The election could be affected by a big change in the Feast – ticket purchases this year will include a voting membership in the FAC.
The Board also discussed tightening criteria for messages posted on the FAC Yahoo e-group. The Board has, for the first time ever, contracted (paying a small, one-time stipend) a Feast Manager (Migliaccio) and a Feast Volunteer Coordinator (Molly Bhen.) The Board also began discussions with Leslie Zenz on producing the next Solstice Parade. Zenz has ably led the parade build since 2008, and the Board asked for a commitment from her for 2015 – and to possibly open the job to applicants for 2016.
The FAC COW meeting took place on December 9th, giving 11 more days for preparing for the annual celebration of the Winter Solstice. The FAC is, however, sharing the site with the Punk Rock Flea Market, scheduled for December 13th. This means the main portion of decorating the site for the Feast would begin Sunday, December 14th.
The Fire Marshal had scheduled a walk-through before the Flea Market to decide occupancy for the site, which dictates how many tickets can be sold to the Feast. As of the COW, 220 tickets had been sold (at $45 each) and 150 volunteers had signed up to help. A long-time FAC volunteer had promised, once again, to make hand-crafted invites for volunteers. Also, a special ‘late night ticket’ will be made available, for $20, after the majority of the general tickets sold (at least 280 more could be available,) for those who only want to attend the dance party portion of the event at 11p.
Feast organizers tried a new volunteer plan this year, to avoid a chronic problem of wasting volunteer time. The FAC assigned a leader to each major Feast project, and the leader gave a pre-determined number of volunteers who could pre-register to help. Drop-in and floater volunteers will still show up, but those will be assigned to leaders who have a shortage of hands rather than being left to hang out waiting for a task.
Throughout the COW meeting, attendees showed diligence to respecting the history of the FAC – and to improving traditional methods to get the same traditional result. As with the effort to solve the chronic problem of wasting volunteer energy, the Feast looked to bring the same celebration of community and art, built more effectively and efficiently, organizers hoped.
As for those building headdresses and lanterns for the Feast, during this COW, they showed a similar diligence in their efforts.
To see, and hear, more about the FAC, the COW and upcoming celebrations –Solstice Parade, Mardi Gras and Bay’s Petite Troll – attend the January 13th COW meeting at 7p at The Powerhouse. Everyone is welcome to participate, and learn more, about this non-profit arts organization.
- FAC Highlight Reel: Before The Feast Begins
- by Kirby Lindsay, November 12, 2014
- Fremont Feast Marks Winter Solstice
- by Kirby Lindsay, December 30, 1998 in The Seattle Press
- How To Build A Solstice Parade
- by Kirby Lindsay, May 16, 2011
©2014 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.