Have you ever considered joining the board of a non-profit arts organization, but brushed the thought aside beside you don’t paint, write, act or sing (except for maybe in the shower)?
You don’t need to be an artist to help support and grow the sector. A strong board is one that’s made up of people with diverse skill sets, perspectives and experiences. And while the organization benefits from your experience and expertise, joining a board is also a great way for you to gain new skills, make new friends, grow your network and make a difference – all while getting an inside view into how the creative community makes their best work.
Whether you’re someone who wants to help support the arts by joining a board, or you’re a board or staff member of an arts organization who’d like to learn more about how to strengthen your work as a team, our “Team Up With the Arts” program is for you.
The four-part program (created in partnership with the Gardiner Centre) will kick off in September, uniting members of the creative sector in the province with potential volunteers who want to make an impact. Sessions will include information on the economic impact of the arts in Newfoundland and Labrador, nonprofit governance, the roles and responsibilities of a board, and more. (At the end of the program, potential volunteers will have the opportunity to be matched to an arts board).
Sometimes, board (or committee) members come from within the organization itself. That’s the case with the Tuckamore Chamber Music Festival which, every summer since 2001, has been bringing together talented young artists, renowned faculty and world-class guest musicians for two weeks of performances, talks and masterclasses. (This year’s festival runs until August 21. Click here to view the schedule.)
Their Young Artist Program, says Tuckamore’s Executive Director Krista Vincent, “since year one, has kind of been really the heart of the festival.” It’s part of Tuckamore’s mandate, she says, to have alumni involved in all levels of the organization.
“We really pride ourselves on giving lots of opportunities to our alumni and creating new networks of participants,” Vincent says, pointing to Tuckamore’s new “Widening the Circle” program, an online program that provides mentorship between professional, emerging and youth composers, helping widen the networks of Tuckamore’s young artists and young artist alumni; and education programs throughout schools in the province.
Some of those Young Artist Program alumni have since moved onto careers in medicine, law and eduction, to name a few, and are now giving back to Tuckamore in significant ways as fundraising committee and/or board members. Doug Angel, for instance, participated in Tuckamore’s first ever Young Artist Program as a pianist, and performed as a guest artist as part of Tuckamore’s online festival in 2020. An ENT specialist in St. John’s, he’s now on Tuckamore’s fundraising committee.
Rebecca Powell, an emergency physician in St. John’s, is also on the fundraising committee, and previously participated as a cellist for four years. She’s also performed during Tuckamore at the Pub fundraising events.
Jeannine Maloney, who today is on Tuckamore’s fundraising committee, as well as the board of directors, previously participated as a pianist in 2002 and 2004. She’s now a musician, teacher and adjudicator based in Toronto. Studying at the Tuckamore Festival, she says, with a rigorous performing, training and rehearsal schedule, helped give her a better understanding of what life as a professional musician might be like.
“I think that was pretty indicative of how things would be if you end up going that route of performing. And there were so few programs in Canada where you get that level of training….just working under pressure like that, where you’ve got two weeks to get this large piece of music up and running at a very high level – whether you go into medicine or law, it’s preparing you to be a collaborative person (and) perform under pressure. Having that deadline, I feel like it just gives you a skill set that is so transferable,” she says.
For Maloney, lending her time and skills is a way for her to support an organization she believes in so strongly, and which has given her so much. The Tuckamore Festival, and the organization overall, she says, is world-class, and she hopes to help it grow, while increasing people’s awareness of everything it has to offer.
“You’re in St. John’s, in beautiful, intimate venues with these incredible artists from around the world, like… the Verona Quartet, and Janina (Fialkowska) is coming back again this summer…a lot of people in St. John’s might not know what the Tuckamore Festival is, and they should, because it’s something to really be proud of,” she says.
“Even the artistic directors…Tim (Steeves) and Nancy (Dahn) have literally played every major concert hall in the world…and they live and work in Newfoundland, and they’re teaching at this festival, and that’s incredible,” she adds.
“I love the festival, I believe in it, and I want people in Newfoundland and Labrador to also have the same passion for it that I do.”
Melissa Saunders, who participated as a pianist in 2005 and 2006, is also a member of Tuckamore’s board of directors and fundraising committee and, like Rebecca Powell, performs at Tuckamore at the Pub fundraising events. These days, she works as a lawyer in St. John’s. Studying chamber music at the Tuckamore Festival, she says, was pivotal to her development as a classical musician, while teaching her how to collaborate and work with others.
“At the time, I was in my early undergrad at Memorial University. To have the opportunity to participate in a festival of that caliber here at home was incredible. I learned not only from the amazing roster of performers and coaches, but also from the strong group of student musicians that the festival attracted from across North America, many of whom I stayed in contact with throughout my music studies,” she says.
“To work together towards a common goal with the culmination being the performance of a large-scale chamber music work required a rigorous commitment to the music and to the group, which is truly unique to chamber music. The Festival Finale concerts, the culmination of our two weeks of work, were truly incredible learning experiences.”
When she returned home to St. John’s in 2017, Saunders says, getting involved with the festival was a priority. Like Maloney, she praises Artistic Directors Timothy Steeves and Nancy Dahn as musicians and leaders.
“I often tell people who have no background or interest in classical music that they should nonetheless support the festival because it is an example of something that is happening in Newfoundland and Labrador that represents the best of the best,” she says.
“I want to do everything I can to ensure that this festival is able to flourish in our community. I am so grateful it exists and it is one of my favourite parts of summer in St. John’s.”
To learn more about the Tuckamore Festival, click here.
Want to know more about how non-profit boards work and how you can contribute your skills to make an impact? Click here to learn about our “Team Up With the Arts” program!