Support for art
Society helps artists network:

Michele LeTourneau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 05/00) - A new organization in Yellowknife is hoping to lend a helping hand to artists.

The Aurora Arts Society's aim is to work in partnership with other arts organizations with mutual goals, such as the Festival of the Midnight Sun and the Yellowknife Writers' Group, says the society's interim president.

"To enhance each other," says Eddie Kolausok, whose day job is executive advisor for DIAND in Yellowknife.

"My feeling is a lot of the members wished to look at ways of enhancing arts co-ordination in Yellowknife. I can see this as an opportunity for artists to share and grow their art in the community. I'm talking more about starting artists and developing artists. As for professional artists, "there's always the opportunity of benefiting from networking and co-operating," he adds.

One concrete example of the society's -- which has a temporay space in the Thelon Air building -- plans to provide support for artists is the database of funding sources currently being worked on.

The society's goals include promoting integrated action among artists; promoting the exchange of information and ideas; taking a pro-active role by offering talks; demonstrations and lessons; taking a pro-active role in the development of marketing skills; and maintaining dialogue with economic development and tourism officers.

The society also recently circulated a five-page, 17-question survey, focusing on the respondents' involvement in the arts, questions on the procurement of information and resources pertaining to the arts, arts funding and arts spaces.

"One of the bigger goals, a later goal, if it is determined by the survey, we'd like to work towards developing an arts centre -- a resource centre," says Kolausok.

The goal would be to share personnel, technology, and material resources, he says.

Kolausok stressed the society does not intend to get involved in art retail.

"The main emphasis is on supporting arts, culture and heritage," he says, which are viable sectors of economic development. We'll share ideas, work together and co-operate because it's in the best interest of a community to have successful artistic and cultural development. We really believe that (these) have a lot of potential to create economic opportunities. And we believe in this -- working together we can accomplish a lot more."

The Aurora Arts Society was first formed in the summer of 1999, and became a registered society last November.

"At the beginning there were four or five of us -- Kolausok, Denise Bekkema, Maureen Pirker and Rene Jones -- all the members are volunteers and they've spent hundred of hours collectively on this."

There are currently a dozen members "and growing," says Kolausok.

Their first public meeting will be held in June, when a board will be elected.

Anyone interested in the arts or supporting the arts is welcome to become a member. Those who wish to make a bigger commitment to the community are welcome to volunteer their time. The exact meeting date will be announced later this month.