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Arts festival looks to town for support
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, January 29, 2009
Last year, council passed a motion that the society would need to renew their agreement with the town about using office space and other town services for the society.
On Monday night, society members Arlene Hansen and executive director Tony Devlin spoke to council and made a presentation about their past accomplishments and where the society wants to grow in the future.
Their request of council was to approve their use of office space in the town office, as well as use of the town credit card and Internet services.
Hansen said there are many people who are affected by the arts festival every summer.
"Not only the people who attend the show, but the artists themselves get to learn new techniques and network with other artists," she said.
"It helps our local artists grow and try new things."
Hansen spoke about the integral support by the town and how it's kept the festival running.
"Make no mistake about it, our survival would not have been possible without the support of the town of Inuvik," she said.
"We were in a sinking ship and there is no way we could have recovered without the town."
Devlin told the council three years ago, the society was $200,000 in debt.
Now, the society bank accounts have nearly $30,000 to start planning for the 2009 event.
"This is our first surplus in eight years," said Devlin.
Devlin, who has been executive director since December 2007, was applauded by Hansen for his dedication to the show.
"He has made a huge difference to us as well, he's brought a professional touch to our festival," said Hansen.
Devlin fired up his laptop and projector for the second part of the presentation to council.
When the lights dimmed, council was shown pie charts of the society's funding providers and other facts.
"With the support of the town, we've been able to offer opportunities to the community all year round," said Devlin.
He spoke about workshops held during the summer festival and the winter craft sale.
Devlin said the arts festival is one of the key annual events in town that brings in tourists from all over the world.
"We've been featured in many articles, magazines and newspapers," he told council.
He said it should be a priority for the town to support an established event like the arts festival.
"Inuvik currently lacks the infrastructure to keep tourists in town for more than 48 hours," he said.
"We are currently known on the Internet as a 'seven picture town.'"
Devlin said the festival society is eager to work with the town again this year and asked them for its approval of their request for the office space and other services.
Coun. Clarence Wood applauded the society for their presentation.
"For the first time in all my years on council, that was the best presentation we've seen from the arts festival," said Wood.
"You have my support."
Deputy mayor Chris Larocque echoed Wood's sentiments.
Council was expected to make a decision on Wednesday night.