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AGM 2018 – President’s Report

ARTS TOURING ALLIANCE OF ALBERTA
Annual General Meeting
Sunday, October 21, 2018 11:00 AM
Dow Centennial Centre, Fort Saskatchewan

PRESIDENTS REPORT 2017-2018

To the Membership,

After another successful Showcase last October, the Board of Directors of the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta (ATAA) began our duties with our first board meeting, held as usual in Red Deer, on November 19th and 20th, 2017.

Since the position of Executive Director (ED) of the ATAA had not been renewed following the AGM, the board’s first order of business was the discussion of and then the posting of the position’s criteria; and then accepting submissions. Before announcing the position, much discussion occurred regarding the qualifications and qualities the board wanted in its new ED. Thus began a very busy few months for the board, as planning for this year’s Conference and Showcase had begun as well.

Our second meeting in February on the 11th and 12th included interviews with the top four ED candidates, as well as our regular business. The selection group was impressed with the quality of the candidates and were very pleased when we could announce our decision that Kennedy Jenson was the successful individual and our new Executive Director. Welcome Kennedy!

At the February meeting, decisions were also made involving our special initiative, OnStage. OnStage presentations continue to support the development of home-grown artists by providing them with direct, one-on-one viewing, followed by an assessment of their performances by a panel of industry professionals.

In 2018, the OnStage presentations were held in Red Deer and Grande Prairie and a total of nine artists performed and discussed their performances with panels. It is worth noting that several of the OnStage artists then submitted an application to appear at Showcase, and two were chosen to be a part of the weekend.

The February meeting also included the board choosing the date of the Showcase jury that meets to review artist submissions. In order to provide presenters with a select number of artists to view and hear at Showcase, each year the call goes out to artists to submit applications. These applications, including videos of performances, are then viewed by a jury made up of individuals involved in the music presentation industry, such as presenters, artists, media, agents, funding body representatives etc., as well as the ATAA staff and several current directors.

In 2018 the jury met in Edmonton on April 27th and 28th. Worth mentioning is that this year the rules for artist submissions were made more stringent and the result was a few less submissions than previous years but a stronger level of quality overall. From over one hundred fifty submissions, over forty artists were eventually chosen, and they will be viewed and heard over the four days of Showcase, as follows.

• 30 Main Stage Performances
• 4 Opening Reception Performances
• 4 Emerging Artists
• 2 Young Albertans
• 1 Friday Late Night Roving Entertainment
• 2 Dinner Performances, plus the open mic on Saturday

The ATAA believes that our Conference and Showcase remain central to the society’s objectives, and we feel that the artist submission process is attracting more quality artists than ever, although some genres could benefit from more applications. To this point the ATAA continues to reach out to dance and theatre groups, for example.

For the remainder of the ATAA’s year, regular board meetings were held in May and September 2018. As well as the unique agenda items mentioned, the meetings always discussed financial reports, and membership information. The May meeting was held on the 6th and 7th and September was the 10th and 11th, with the September meeting being held in Fort Saskatchewan at the site of the upcoming Showcase, to finalize the multitude of tasks for the event, including planning the AGM.

At this meeting, the decision was made to return to the Dow Centennial Centre, Fort Saskatchewan, for next year’s Conference and Showcase.

I would note here, once again with appreciation, the hours of work put in by the volunteer Board of Directors of the ATAA, whose enthusiasm and dedication to supporting the arts touring industry makes my job so much easier. It is truly a privilege to lead this wonderful group and I thank them on your behalf and say without reservation, as I finish my six-year term with the ATAA and say goodbye, that I will miss working with them greatly.

I will also acknowledge the work of our dedicated ATAA staff, who consistently go beyond the expected and amaze us. To Kennedy, Shannon, Don and Sherry, thank you for all you do – we could not succeed without you.

Thank you as well to our wonderful, supportive membership; the ATAA is here for you and you are here for us. A relationship that has worked for over forty years.

And finally, thank you to our supporters, from grassroots to government, notably The Alberta Foundation for the Arts and Canadian Heritage and their significant financial grants. The Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta could not do what it does without all your support.

As presenters, we all know the work and dedication needed to put on the show. Showcase 2018 should help all of you with that, we trust.

Good luck with putting on the show in 2018-2019.

Lawrence (Larry) Taylor, B.Ed.
President, Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta