By Chad Ingram
After a hiatus the Minden Hills Cultural Centre Foundation is hoping to make a comeback.
Operating as Arts Alive Minden the board of the not-for-profit group held a public meeting at the Minden Legion Aug. 27 to gauge public interest in reestablishment of the arts fund and generate ideas on how to begin to raise money for the cause.
The group diminished its presence in the community in 2013 after a disagreement with council on how the money raised should be spent.
“Because our name is the Minden Hills Cultural Centre Foundation the assumption on the part of some people is that all the funds we raised go to the Minden Hills Cultural Centre” said board member and chairman of the meeting Jack Brezina.
“In the past some of those funds were going to individuals and organizations outside the Minden Hills Cultural Centre. We received a letter from the provincial registrar saying ‘there’s a problem with that please rectify that or hand in your charter’ and that’s where we stopped doing what we were doing and waited for the dust to settle. Some of this was being prompted by inquires from the previous members of council.”
The group maintained its status as a charitable organization but stopped raising and distributing funds until after a new council was formed in last year’s municipal election.
Another option would be to change the name of the organization but the group fears it would lose some of the clout it gains through association with the cultural centre.
“We look at it [changing the name] and it’s not that difficult but we also like that it’s associated with a known entity in the municipality and we don’t have an aversion to supporting what’s going on there we just needed some flexibility to work outside of that” Brezina said.
The revitalized group plans to meet again with the board and others who have shown interest in becoming involved to begin planning fundraising activities.
“We want to cash in on that interest bring them on board” said Brezina. “Our purpose is to raise money and then give it away. How do we raise money is the next question.”
Some ideas put forth at the meeting include another “Artists exposed” calendar featuring local artisans and a renewal of the annual gala.
The group will not be accepting grant applications or funding requests right away. Brezina said the focus will be on seeing how much money it can raise before it can determine how much will be available to disperse.
When determining the criteria for applications Brezina said the field is wide open but generally applications come from younger artists.
“The board in the past has liked stuff that has come from young people. Ideas from young people they tend to support but we’ve been pretty across the board. We don’t get a lot of requests from older people so it tends to be young people that want to try something new” he said.
The group hopes to meet again in the fall to begin planning.