Annual General Meeting 2019 – President’s Report


Annual General Meeting

Sunday, October 20, 2019   11:00 AM
Dow Centennial Centre, Fort Saskatchewan



After a fantastic Showcase last year, it was exciting to begin the work as chairperson for an excellent ATAA Board. It is our privilege to work with an amazing, conscientious staff: our Executive Director – Kennedy Jenson, Programming and Communications Director – Shannon Jones, and Tech Director – Don Waddle.

At Showcase 2018, we said farewell to five board members who had contributed greatly to our ATAA board. We thank Larry Taylor, Vic Close, Bruce Beamer, Duane Steele and Liam Prost for their volunteer service to the ATAA.

Following the final showcase on Sunday last year, our new board met for the first time. We welcomed Chloe Albert, Nick Beach, Brandi Watson, Len Ramsey and Caitlin North as new members of our board and set our meeting dates for 2018-2019. We spent some time reviewing Showcase 2018 – which was a first for our new ED Kennedy Jenson. Our Showcase 2018 went very well thanks to Kennedy, Shannon, Don and his amazing tech crew, Sherrie, and the capable assistance of Ticketpro. We had more advertising and sponsorship for Showcase 2018 thanks to the work of our staff, and this was a good thing due to decreased grant revenue last year.

In November, we reviewed the Survey Monkey results for Showcase and discussed changes for the next Showcase based on these results. Discussions about integrating reconciliation practices that are used nation-wide into our organization, and strategies for working more closely with Alberta Dance Alliance were also highlights of this meeting.

Professional Development for our membership was a goal for our new ED. Kennedy organized two “Steps to Securing Sponsorship” with facilitator Cameron Smillie during the second weekend in March. The workshops were very well attended – 16 in Edmonton and in Calgary there were 8 participants – despite a storm which had closed some southern Alberta highways. Cameron provided a very useful template and role-playing situations for seeking sponsorships. The workshops were also an excellent time for networking.

In February, we reviewed and discussed our Strategic Plan and assessed our present situation with regard to our goals. Our goal of supporting Emerging Artists has exceeded expectations. To increase awareness of ATAA, a postcard ‘takeaway’ has been designed for members to share with others. We also encourage presenters to display our ATAA logo on their promotional materials and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

In our February meeting, we recognized efforts that our ED, Kennedy, is making to promote closer relationships with other AB networks and made the decision to host a Kairos Blanket Exercise as a part of our Showcase workshops to address reconciliation processes. We also appointed a new accountant with remarkably lower fees than our previous firm.

Two OnStage events happened this past year, one in Calgary at Studio Bell March 10 and one in Edmonton McEwan University March 9. The participants had very constructive discussions about their performance with a panel of presenters and all of the OnStage artists applied and some were selected to present at Showcase 2019.

In April, twelve Showcase jury members received online packages in order to pre-score over 150 artist applications by watching videos and looking at application packages. These scores were then tabulated, and the top 75 artists were re-scored in a weekend meeting at the end of April. This year’s showcase lineup was developed with the assistance of this jury, the board and staff. Over the course of three days, Showcase participants will hear 28 Main Stage Performances, 4 Emerging Artists, 2 Young Albertans, and 2 Dinner Performances. The ATAA believes that our Showcase conference remains 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. The ATAA continues to reach out to dance and theatre groups. If you would like to be a member of the Showcase Jury for next year, please contact Kennedy.

Our ED was invited to attend East Coast Music Awards to promote Alberta Showcase. Kennedy also attended CAPACOA meetings in Ottawa to represent ATAA.

One of the main topics in May was, “How can we increase our board efficiency?” Because our board membership now includes more people from north of Calgary, we have decided to host our meetings in the Edmonton area to reduce travel and accommodation costs. Our February, May and September meetings have also been changed to one-day meetings – on Mondays, in the Percy Page Centre Board Room, which is where the ATAA office is located.

Our first kick at a one-day meeting with the executive meeting early in the day, a meeting between the ED and Executive, followed by a full Board meeting at 10:30am at the Percy Page Centre happened in mid-September and worked well. This meeting was mainly to study finances, and work on the Showcase schedule for October.

While many of you will be watching the Grey Cup in November, our Board members will be working on our next three-year Strategic Plan. Thanks to Nick Beach, we will be attending this seminar in Camrose at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Centre. A board meeting will follow the next day. Seeking to expand services and streamline our spending and providing value to our ATAA members motivates us as we look to our next year.

Showcase 2020 will be at the Dow Centennial Centre Shell Theatre during the weekend of October 22 – 25 We hope to see you all back here again next year.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to the board members and our staff for a brilliant year and I look forward to working with you all again for this coming year.

To our membership, thank you for the many hours of volunteer work you do in order to bring the arts to your communities. The ATAA is here for you – let us know how we can serve you.  And finally, we are grateful for the sponsorship for Showcase events, the Silent Auction contributors and buyers, and the significant financial grants from The Alberta Foundation for the Arts and Canadian Heritage. The Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta could not do what it does without all your support.

Respectfully submitted,
Linda Andres