Orillia Arts and Culture Center seeks feedback on its strategic plan

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The organization has entered a period of transformation that will determine its future and hopes that members of the community will contribute their ideas, suggestions.

PRESS RELEASE
ORILLIA ARTS + CULTURE CENTER
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We change !
The Orillia Center for Arts + Culture board members recently decided to embark on a four-month strategic planning period to update the organization and ensure that in the future we project a vision. and a vibrant and progressive branding of what our organization does for the arts in our community and the broader creative community in Ontario and beyond.

The purpose of this release is to clarify the events that created the need to re-imagine the organization. It ends with a description of the work ahead and an invitation to contribute your ideas and help us find the way forward.

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 property of the Huronia Regional Center (HRC) in Orillia into a ‘Banff Center East », A place of life and work for artists. , a place on the shores of Lake Simcoe where members of the public could come to see the best talent in Canada and around the world.

For three to four years, the group, formed in 2015 as the Huronia Cultural Campus (HCC) and granted charitable status in 2016, worked alongside the City of Orillia to persuade the government to Ontario that the HRC site, officially closed in 2009, should become a new entity dedicated to cultural activity.

After the province settled a lawsuit alleging the suffering of former residents and issued an apology, the idea of ​​creating a new identity for the site no longer seemed welcome to the government. In 2018, a new government decided not to put the HRC site up for sale. At present, it appears that the property will be retained for provincial use, and the original goal of the Huronia Cultural Campus has become unachievable.

An intermediate step
In 2019, the organization announced to the public that it had taken on a new name, The Orillia Center for Arts + Culture (OC), to better reflect the reality that, given that HRC ownership was not available, the organization would focus its activities on in the city itself, in the hope that at some point a home for the organization could be established.

From 2017 to 2019, with the help of a large Trillium grant from the provincial government, the HCC / Orillia Center evolved into an organization primarily focused on presenting a variety of cutting-edge entertainment – ranging from Cuban musicians and sound from Maqueque to Tessa Kuz’s urban dance workshop. to a unique Ontario presentation of First Nations stories and storytellers. There were a total of seven presentations in 2019.

In 2020, the COIVID-19 pandemic changed everything. Live performances were no longer possible. The world of entertainment and the world of the arts seemed to be shutting down all over the world. The idea of ​​pursuing a physical space as the focus of the organization has become untenable.

The emergence of a new direction
In 2020, Kate Hilliard became the Creative Director of the OC. She welcomed artists during the pandemic, while persuading granting agencies – the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canada Arts Presentation Fund and others – that supporting artists to work in Orillia had an artistic and economic sense.

She has formed partnerships with the Simcoe County School Board and local venues like the Orillia Opera House and the St. Paul Center to create educational experiences for students and young artists in the area. Through his initiatives, a new emphasis on creative programming has emerged.

Where are we now?
During 2020-2021, the Orillia Center Board of Directors realized that its mandate no longer aligned with 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 organization’s mandate and purpose. This work includes:

  • Identify a new name and a new brand image to carry the organization into the future.
  • Create a board of directors that is the guarantor of a new vision and a new strategic direction.
  • Identify sustainable strategies for funding and improve financial stability on the operational side of the organization.
  • Ensure diversity and intergenerational representation throughout the organization.
  • Embed new business ideas, including collaborative leadership, networked interaction, and engaged participation.
  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of the creative director, our creative programming, the integration of cultural issues and the role of artists.
  • A global approach to media and communication.
  • Strategies for developing a network of volunteers, stakeholders, alliances, partnerships, government agencies and business relations.

The board has set a tight schedule. The aim is to present a strategic plan to the board of directors on December 10, 2021.

The work ahead
An essential aspect of the strategic planning process is obtaining input from outside sources. Considering the short timeframe, this will be a challenge. We will try to include ideas from:

  • Current and past members of the board of directors and members of the programming committee.
  • Representatives of local Orillia arts groups (eg ODAC, Mariposa Folk Festival, Mariposa Arts Theater, Concert Association).
  • The business community.
  • The educational community.
  • The city of Orillia and its cultural facilities (Orillia Opera House, Orillia Museum of Art and History, Leacock Home)
  • Other

The Strategic Planning Committee is committed to shaping the future of the organization into an effective, well-managed and well-funded arts organization that makes a valuable contribution to cultural life, offers artists the opportunity to engage in creative programming and improves the welfare of the larger society.

Will you help us?
We welcome your ideas and thoughts on how this organization can both meet these needs and, at the same time, serve our community and the artistry that has long characterized this field.

We have entered a period of transformation that will determine the future of our organization. We appreciate your ideas. If you would like to contribute your ideas and help us reinvent our organization, please contact Brian Alger (President, Strategic Planning Committee) at [email protected]

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