Working in the arts is never dull, and sometimes it is quite amazing. This year, North Bank enjoyed many successes in its mission to provide our artists with opportunities and our community with impactful arts experiences and education. Reflecting on what was accomplished, what was left undone, and what is to come, North Bank is ready for 2015.
A high point for the arts in Vancouver this year was the designation of an arts district by the City of Vancouver. This was the result of many years of hard work done by local artists and art leaders. What helped us to actually realize the dream of an arts district was a partnership between the Vancouver Downtown Association, the arts organizations and businesses, and the City of Vancouver. Partnerships are the most powerful agents of change there are. Only collaboration can improve an entire community, and the Vancouver Arts District aims to improve our community through creative vitality.
North Bank also celebrated the launch of its first in-class education program with the Vancouver School District and the Clark County Historical Museum in 2014. When I designed the program in 2013, I used Washington State Arts Standards to enhance the quality and focus of the program, so that students would have an impactful arts/humanities experience. Studies have showed in-class programs provide more quality than after-school programs, and I so I wrote into the program that teaching artists would work with the classroom teacher during school hours. Fae Moeller and her advanced art class at Thomas Jefferson Middle School were willing to work with us. The results were successful, and Art of Legacy will begin again in 2015, and include a class from Hudson’s Bay High School as well.
Another opportunity presented itself to North Bank in 2014. Due to our years of hard work and optimistic outlook we were acknowledged by the Meyer Memorial Trust this year, when they donated $20,000 to North Bank for operational costs for the 2015 budget. We are truly thankful for the financial support and acknowledgement, and we will be good stewards of this gift, as we have been with all of our grants.
Finally, another happy thought about 2014 is the excellence in our art shows put on by member artists and guests. The most memorable for me was Erin Dengerink’s exhibit “YES!” which featured hers and guests’ installation art. Installation art is more difficult to sell, and so many commercial galleries won’t show it. To have a show like this on Main Street was incredible, and well over 700 guests visited that month. Amazing!
My goals as the executive director of North Bank for 2015 are to bring new artists from a diverse background into membership and improve patronage and fundraising. Long term sustainability for North Bank is a goal our board is working on, too. Like Blue Sky in Portland, arts nonprofits can be successful and sustainable for decades. Also, I will work with others to help maintain and grow a prosperous and thriving arts district. My hope for the Vancouver Arts District is that it will bloom, and in its blooming Vancouver will be an even more awesome place to live and do business.
Happy New Year to all our members, studio renters, patrons, supporters, and friends. May 2015 be a prosperous, happy, and creative time for everyone. Be well!