VOLUNTEERING WITH THE ARTS COUNCIL
Board Member Positions
The Arts Council is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. We strive to have a board that reflects the diversity of Ventura County by having members from across the county who represent different aspects of the cultural arts, and who are of different ages, ethnic backgrounds and gender. The board members work on different aspects of the Council’s programs; they are vital to the operations of the organization. The Board can reach 15 members, but it is rare to consistently have all positions filled. So, we are always scouting for additional members to maintain the diversity of participation outlined above. If you would be interested in serving on the Board, or on an auxiliary working committee we welcome you. CLICK HERE to email your interest to the Executive Director.
The staff and board of the Arts Council have a good deal of experience working in the arts field and with volunteers and interns. Through shadowing key people in the organization, we believe an intern could learn a great deal about gallery management, arts administration, and non-profit organizations. While interns are often associated with college students, our internships are open to any one. It would be wonderful if we had predictable funding for interns, but sadly that is not the case. A modest stipend could be provided to those who demonstrate their value. For individuals needing an internship for course credit, the Council can arrange this with the individual’s instructor. Below is a bit of background on two areas of training the Council can provide.
- Non-profit Arts Administration – The Executive Director of the Arts Council has been volunteer, board member and executive in a number of different arts organizations. She also has art training. As such she has wide experience and contacts.Shadowing a person like this, and taking on assignments of a director will expose an intern to the essentials of a non-profit arts organization with an emphasis on a regional arts organization.
- Gallery Management – The current Atrium Gallery manager has been involved with the gallery since 2005. He is an artist so he understands the artists’ point of view. Since he does much of the hanging of artwork, he knows the nuts and bolts of rigging work for display. He also programs the shows and engages artists to participate in the shows.He has been a juror of shows, as well as a judge. He has also managed interns for some 25 years and appreciates their need for a quality hands-on learning experience.
Atrium Gallery Tasks – There are many aspects to running the Atrium Gallery at the Ventura County Government Center. Below is a listing of the key tasks. Volunteers can CLICK HERE to contact the Gallery Coordinator.
- Visual Arts Committee – This committee of volunteers assists with all aspects of the Atrium Gallery, as well as other visual arts issues. Most tasks can be accomplished through emails, so meetings are not usually required. A committee of 5 to 7 people would be helpful and not put too much strain on too few people.
- Show Themes & Titles – Developing intriguing themes and titles for shows to lure artist participation and enjoyment by viewers is a creative challenge and is the foundation of a successful gallery and exhibition.
- Calendaring Shows – Once themes and titles have been selected they need to be calendared in a way that equally distributes the competitive and curated shows through out the year while avoiding conflicts with other gallery events in the area, or conflicts County departmental displays in the shared gallery space.
- Preparing Calls to Artists – The specific calls to artists must be crafted after the Calendar is completed so the critical dates are consistent. The calls must be a thoughtful elaboration on the Theme and Title in the Calendar, that clearly describes what sort of artwork is desired and the artists (or geographic area) that qualify for admission. Failure to be exact can lead to complications with entrants.
- Wrangling Artwork – Mustering up enough artists to fill three floors of gallery display walls is an on-going challenge. In this regard, passing along Calls to Artists and our annual calendar are very important. Also encouraging local art groups to join in and curate shows is very important. Passing along email addresses to the VCAC master mailing list is crucial as this broadens our Call to Artists.
- Curators – The gallery generally has two simultaneous shows – one curated the other competitive. We are always looking for thoughtful curated exhibits and curators to manage them. We try to schedule all our shows well in advance, but If you or someone you know are interested in curating an exhibit, we would like to hear from you. Sometimes the curatorial duties have been taken on by entire arts organization, or by the faculty and students of a school.
- Judges – We also need a judge(s) to select the winning works when we have competitive shows. This is a person with artistic credentials commensurate with the work to be judged as well as an impartial third person who has not been involved with the jury process and can view the work after it has been hung. Judging from CD images on a computer should be avoided.
- Take-in and Pickup – We can always use help on the Wednesdays that we take down a current show and take in new work for the next show. It is a hectic time, and helpers are needed all day long, even for a few hours.
- Laying Out Artwork – This involves arranging the artwork (typically along the walls of the gallery) in an artful manner to create an interesting show. Complementary subject matter, medium, size, color and subject matter are factors to consider in creating an interesting exhibition. Those with a fine aesthetic eye can lay out the show (as others hang the work) and then help adjust artwork’s height and spacing.
- Hanging Artwork – This work involves moving hanging cables and hooks and adjusting artwork. Thankfully, NO ladder climbing is necessary. Re-rigging artwork with proper wire or hooks may also be involved.
- Receptions – Most shows will have a reception. Current practice is to have a reception and awards ceremony for competitive shows, typically two weeks after the shows are installed. People are needed to collect the refreshments (beverages, crackers, dip, etc.); set up the refreshment table; serve refreshments; and clean up after the reception.
There are many administrative tasks that can be done from one’s home, but a few will require in-office work.
- Extend Office Hours – The office is presently open from 9:00 am to noon most weekdays. Having someone staff the office in the afternoon to take calls and work on various assignments would be very helpful.
- Check The Website for Problems – Websites frequently breakdown with bad links to other pages or websites, missing language, outdated material, etc. If someone could regularly comb the website for problems, it would be very useful.
- Prepare Press Releases for Various Programs and Events – The Art Council has many activities going on that deserve adequate press coverage. Minimally, this assignment would involve up-dating the calendar of events in the local press. Writing full press releases or full length “stringer stories” would be an added bonus.
- Document Art Council Functions and Programs in Pictures – The individuals in the middle of the Council’s activities are often too busy to capture the scene in photos. A dedicated photographer would be invaluable so we can document events for press releases and for the website. Our art shows at the Atrium Gallery need such coverage every 6 to 7 weeks.
- Up-date the Directories of Organizations on the Website – We strive to have a comprehensive lists of arts organizations. New ones emerge regularly while others become inactive. Verifying the lists regularly and the contact information on them would be invaluable.
- Up-date the Press Contacts – There are many different press outlets – from print, to internet, to radio and TV. Finding and documenting the contact information of each outlet and their restrictions and filing deadlines would be helpful to the Council and all arts organizations.
- Secure Email Addresses for Art Instructors in the High Schools and Colleges – To have a successful youth outreach requires contact with their instructors. The schools (K-college) do not provide ready contact information; it must be researched school by school.
- Up-date the List of Other Useful Website Links – The Council’s website lists website links that would be useful to the arts community on a number of issues: from grants to economic impact of the arts; educational trends; art marketing and business, to policy at the national, state and local levels.
- Read and Summarize the Economic Impacts of the Arts for Placement on the Website – The economic case for the arts has been made in many studies, but they are not wildly known. A page on our website is dedicated to this sort of information. It also addresses the value of the arts in learning, as well as therapy and recovery. Adding links to such resources would be broadly helpful to the arts community.
- Documenting the Economic Impact of the Arts Council – The Council, like all non-profits contribute more than expected to the local economy. Its impact can be documented, but it takes some effort to pull together the information, and in a manner that can be readily up-dated and tracked.
- Grant Writing – We often learn about grants, but do not have the time or staff to pursue all the ones we would like to. There are also grant opportunities that we are totally unaware of. So, a person who could research grant opportunities and write them would be a godsend.
- Data Compiler – The competition for grants is very competitive, so convincing arguments are made to fund one organization over another based on passed performance and the quality of the current grant proposal. The Council has data on many of its programs, but it is not readily gathered into one place. Researching the performance of past programs and collecting it on future programs to create a year-to- year profile of progress would be very valuable.
- Financial Advisor – The Council has a bookkeeper who assists with tax preparation, and part time office staff who tracks expenses, but a person with non-profit financial experience would be very helpful.
- IT Consultant – Computer software and hardware always need attention and coordinating them with our email and website functions is critical. So too is providing shared access of the Council’s data and functions among Board Members, staff, and volunteers. Advising on such matters would be very helpful.