Put a group of people together with different perspectives, experiences and skill sets, and you’ll gain new ideas and outlooks, the ability to view problems through a different lens and innovative solutions – and everyone learns and grows in the process. That’s what our Team Up With the Arts program is all about.
Through a four-part program created in partnership with the Gardiner Centre, Team Up With the Arts brings together members of the local creative sector with potential volunteers who want to make a difference. And the benefits are manifold. While the former learns how to harness the power of a board to help make their best work (while getting the chance to meet potential new board members), the latter grows skills, builds their network, and gets the opportunity to help grow and strengthen the local arts sector. (The next round of the program kicks off in September.)
Last fall, Kittiwake Dance Theatre participated in the program, gaining two new board members as a result: Anna Morgan with Browne Fitzgerald Morgan Avis & Wadden, and JoAnne Petten, CPA.
“Team Up With the Arts was intended to unite volunteers who were seeking opportunities with arts organizations seeking volunteers. Kittiwake Dance Theatre hit the jackpot,” says Donna Ball, Kittiwake’s Board Chair.
“As our company’s representative in the program I learned additionally about board governance and responsibilities and connected with not one but two volunteers, who joined our board even before the program ended. And, since then, JoAnne Petten has stepped up to the role of treasurer and Anna Morgan is set to become our next secretary. They both came to our board…with important foundational knowledge because of BANL’s Team Up With the Arts program and have built on that knowledge.”
We chatted with both JoAnne and Anna to learn more about their experience and the value of connecting with the arts.
Business & Arts NL: What, initially, made you interested in becoming more involved with the local arts community and potentially joining a board?
JoAnne Petten: Initially it was a desire to fill some of my time with something meaningful and productive, which begs the question, “What do I care about?” Art sparks joy, so that made the short list. Then I received a very timely email from CPA NL regarding registration for Team Up With the Arts and decided that was an opportunity I needed to take.
Anna Morgan: I saw a posting on the Law Society website for the program and thought it sounded interesting. I have family connections to the arts community in Newfoundland and Labrador and am just getting started in my legal practice, and wanted to do something that would incorporate both of these together.
Business & Arts NL: What was your experience like with the Team Up With the Arts program, and why did you decide to become involved with Kittiwake as a board member?
JoAnne Petten: It was a great experience. The attendees were varied, presentations extremely insightful and it was not time consuming for a person with full-time employment. I remember mentioning how much I loved The Nutcracker ballet during one of those sessions, and before the program had ended I had been offered the chance to join the board as treasurer.
Anna Morgan: My experience with the Team Up With the Arts program was very positive. I found it was a great introduction for people to the business side of arts and also gave everyone a chance to see what is going on around us in the local arts community. Donna Ball reached out to me about Kittiwake. I met her through the program. She let me know about the corporate structure of Kittiwake, which sounded really exciting. It is a well-known, established organization which has the corporate necessities, as well as the arts focus.
Business & Arts NL: Will this be your first experience on an arts board? What do you hope to contribute to the organization? And what do you hope you’ll gain from this experience?
JoAnne Petten: It is my first experience on a board, period. I would hope that I can help streamline some processes and ensure that Kittiwake can manage its growth effectively. What I hope to gain is knowledge and leadership skills, and to be a little more engaged in my community.
Anna Morgan: This is my first experience on an arts board. I hope to contribute my understanding of legal requirements for boards, and my own appreciation for working with other people. I have already gained a greater appreciation of our arts community and hope to continue to learn more about it as we go.
Business & Arts NL: What’s been the most rewarding part of the experience for you so far?
JoAnne Petten: The most rewarding part so far has been that what I do enables the creation of something so entertaining and timeless. If you’ve never been to a ballet, you must go. It’s an experience.
Anna Morgan: The most rewarding part of the Kittiwake experience for me so far has been the meetings and events when we get together with the Kittiwake dancers. We did this in the fall for respectful workplace training, which was well done and important, and again for our Annual General Meeting. It is great to see those who are involved in the organization and see the positivity that shines through both the board of directors and the dancers.
Business & Arts NL: What would you say to other potential volunteers who may be interested in joining the Team Up With the Arts program, or joining an arts board?
JoAnne Petten: Being on a board is challenging, but if anyone is feeling up to the task, this program is a great place to start.
Anna Morgan: For potential volunteers interested in joining the Team Up With the Arts program, I would advise that they keep the lines of communication open with those in charge of the program as they are very willing to help along the way, which offers a lot of guidance. I would iterate how positive an experience it was and recommend attending the workshops, even just to get a sense of matters that the arts community is facing at that time.