The organization has entered a phase of transformation that will determine its future and hopes that community members will feed in with ideas and suggestions
ORILLIA CENTER FOR ART + CULTURE
We are changing!
The board members of the Orillia Center for Arts + Culture recently decided to enter a four month strategic planning phase to update the organization and ensure that in the future we develop a dynamic and progressive vision and branding of what our organization does for the arts in our community and in the larger creative community in Ontario and beyond.
The purpose of this press release is to clarify the events that have necessitated the reorganization of the organization. It closes with a description of the work to be done and an invitation to contribute your ideas and help us find the way into the future.
The original mission
In 2014, a group of Orillia residents came together to pursue a vision first expressed by artist Charles Pachter – to transform the Huronia Regional Center (HRC) in Orillia into a “Banff Center East”, a place to Living and working for artists, a place on the shores of Lake Simcoe for the public to see the best talent in Canada and the world perform.
For three to four years, the group, which was founded in 2015 as the Huronia Cultural Campus (HCC) and received charity status in 2016, worked with the city of Orillia to convince the Ontario government that the HRC, which was officially closed in 2009 Location to a new facility dedicated to cultural activity.
After the province settled a complaint about alleged suffering of former residents and apologized, the idea of giving the place a new identity no longer seemed welcome to the government. In 2018 a new government decided not to offer the HRC site for sale. At the moment it appears that the property will be preserved for provincial use and the original goal of the Huronia Culture Campus is no longer practical.
An intermediate step
In 2019 the organization announced to the public that it had adopted a new name, The Orillia Center for Arts + Culture (OC), to better reflect the reality that the organization will focus its activities on given the unavailability of the HRC property in the city itself, in the hope that one day a home could be created for the organization.
From 2017 to 2019, with the support of a major Trillium grant from the provincial government, the HCC / Orillia Center grew into an organization primarily focused on showcasing a variety of cutting-edge entertainment – everything from Maqueques Cuban musicians and sound to Tessa Kuz ‘Urban Dance workshop for a presentation of the stories and storytellers of the First Nations, unique in Ontario. There were a total of seven presentations in 2019.
In 2020, the COIVID-19 pandemic changed everything. Live performances were no longer possible. The entertainment world and the art world seemed to be closing down all over the world. The idea of pursuing a physical space as the focus of the organization became untenable.
The emergence of a new direction
In 2020 Kate Hilliard became Creative Director of the OC. She welcomed artists during the pandemic while also convincing funding agencies – the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council, Canada Arts Presentation Fund, and others – that helping artists to work in Orillia makes artistic and economic sense.
She partnered with the Simcoe County School Board and local venues such as Orillia Opera House and St. Paul’s Center to create educational experiences for students and young artists in the area. Her initiatives created a new focus on creative programming.
Where are we now?
In the 2020-2021 period, the Orillia Center’s Board of Directors determined that its mandate no longer reflected the future direction of the organization. In August 2021, the board asked one of its members, Brian Alger, to lead a process to reinvent the mandate and purpose of the organization. This work includes:
- Identify a new name and branding to carry the organization into the future.
- Creation of a board of directors responsible for a new vision and strategic direction.
- Identify sustainable strategies to finance and improve the financial stability of the operational side of the organization.
- Ensuring diversity and cross-generational representation throughout the organization.
- Integrate new operational ideas, including collaborative leadership, networked interaction, and engaged participation.
- Clarification of the roles and responsibilities of the creative director, our creative program, the integration of cultural issues and the role of the artist.
- A comprehensive approach to media and communication.
- Strategies for building a network of volunteers, stakeholders, alliances, partnerships, government agencies and business connections.
The board of directors has set an aggressive schedule. The aim is to present a strategic plan to the Board of Management on December 10, 2021.
The work ahead
A critical aspect of the strategic planning process is getting input from outside sources. Given the short timeframe, this will be a challenge. We will try to get ideas from:
- Current and former board members and members of the program committee.
- Representatives of local Orillia art groups (e.g. ODAC, Mariposa Folk Festival, Mariposa Arts Theater, concert association).
- The business world.
- The educational community.
- The city of Orillia and its cultural institutions (Orillia Opera House, Orillia Museum of Art and History, Leacock Home)
The Strategic Planning Committee is determined to shape the future of the organization into an effective, well-run, and well-funded arts organization that makes a valuable contribution to cultural life, allows artists to participate in creative programs, and increases the well-being of the larger ones Society.
Will you help us
We welcome your ideas and thoughts on how this organization can meet these needs while serving our community and the artistic talent that has long been a hallmark of the area.
We have entered a phase of transformation that will determine the future of our organization. We value your ideas. If you have your ideas and would like to help us transform our organization, please contact Brian Alger (Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee) at [email protected]