Airdrie Regional Arts Society dissolves amid ongoing pandemic

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Declining membership and lack of community support during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the disbandment of the Airdrie Regional Art Society (ARTS) earlier this year.

Declining membership and lack of community support during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the disbandment of the Airdrie Regional Art Society (ARTS) earlier this year.

The company disbanded its members in March and has since worked to sell its remaining assets, with all profits going to local charities.

Brian Wilson, vice president of ARTS, said the decision to disband the group was the result of waning public support and interest in the company over the past year. He said a shortage of members and a decreasing number of board members made continuing was not a “viable reality”.

“Everyone was enthusiastic and suddenly things started to change and of course that is due in large part to COVID,” he said. “[Public interest] fell so fast that there was no way to save him.

“But I know a lot of people miss him there.”

According to a notice published in March, the company sent a vote to its membership base and 75 percent of the members voted to dissolve the company.

“It’s sad. I was really hoping that maybe we could just put it in relaxed mode and wait another year or two,” Wilson said. “But with all that we have, it was better to just dissolve it. ‘organization.”

ARTS was established in 2007 to encourage artistic and cultural activities in and around Airdrie. The company hoped to become the hub of the city’s arts community and provide support and mentorship to local artists.

Since then, ARTS has fulfilled its mission of supporting a thriving arts community through classes, showcases, lectures and performances for adults and children. They also made it possible for local artists to be part of a large community directory of artists on the company’s website.

Wilson said that since joining the company in 2019, ARTS has been heavily involved with ARTember – an iconic artistic and cultural celebration in Airdrie held in September – and other showcase events in the city. However, he acknowledged that a number of events and projects proposed by the company had been rejected over the past year due to a lack of support and funding.

“We were banging our heads against the wall thinking, ‘Why are we doing this?’ “, did he declare. “In 2020, we had executive members [resigning] and it was sort of the nail in the coffin.

Wilson said the company pays for an annual insurance policy and that without sponsorship or funding, this is money the company does not have.

He added that he hopes at some point that the City or another sponsor can help support local artists in the same way ARTS has done for the past 14 years.

“There are a lot of great artists in the area,” he said. “It’s amazing how many we have – and great artists.

“And once you lose something like that, I think it hurts the city.”

ARTS is currently looking to sell storefront panels for $ 100 apiece, with all proceeds going to the Airdrie Food Bank. For more information, please contact Brian Wilson at president@airdrieartssociety.ca

Carmen Cundy, AirdrieToday.com

Follow me on twitter @carmenrcundy



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