Grand Arts Council president resigns |

Grand Arts Council president resigns

Cyndi McCoy
Grand Lake, Colorado

With the resignation of its long-time president, election of officers, new members and some new bylaw wordage, the Grand Arts Council is headed for big changes in 2009.

In what came to most as a surprise just before election ballots were passed around, board president Barbara Ahrens removed her name from the running and stepped down Tuesday night. Ahrens, who had served in the position for about eight years, cited personal issues and said it was “just time.”

Cathy Walton-Smith, the other nominee for the position, accepted, but not without acknowledging Ahrens’ hard work and knowledge.

“We’re moving into a new era and we have some serious responsibilities to take care of,” she said. “Along with new leadership comes new opportunity.”

Walton-Smith’s 15 years on the board “goes back to the days of Carol Meine and others whose strength and talents have brought this non-profit organization forward,” she said. “With the completion of the new Grand Arts Center, I look forward to an era of expanded opportunities for the arts in our community. Our present board of directors has the talent and ability to make it all happen.”

Annie Ginsberg was elected vice president of the board, Darin Foran is the treasurer, and Andrea Cox is the secretary. Joanne Jewell was one of three new members who were accepted onto the board.

“I feel being a new member of the Grand Art’s Council this year will be exciting while also being a challenge,” Jewell said. “The arts are so important to our community. GAC is the catalyst to open a doorway for both residents and visitors to find enjoyment and education through our 2009 upcoming programs, events and projects.”

Jim Bianco and Dick Lacouture also joined the board. Bianco, a certified public account, is happy to be stepping in to get a budget in place for the group. Citing the time commitment, Lacouture, a retired attorney, later rescinded his membership.

The GAC supports the arts county-wide. Programs it offers include the holiday melodrama, Tombstone Tales, Concerts in the Park/Pines, Art and Architecture Home Tour, Cabin Fever Follies, and Night at the Casbah. The board reported almost $9,000 was raised through melodrama tickets sold this year.

“Considering the economy, it shows that there’s support out there,” said member Brad Taylor. Upcoming GAC events include an artist reception featuring snowflake

photographer Karla Booth Feb. 6 and a Mardi Gras-style Concert in the Pines Feb. 21.

During the discussion items, board members adopted several changes to its bylaws having to do with the number of members on the board and new term limits. They also discussed its final punch list for the Grand Arts Center.

“We have a lot to do,” Walton-Smith said as the board went over things like post and beam connection in the west entry, doorknob locks and rough surface non-slip entryway floors.

To help raise money to finish up the center renovations, patrons have a chance to “spruce up” the center through a new sponsorship program. Those interested in helping the arts council may purchase a board for the new boardwalk for $50, as well as several items for the outside of the building: a shrub for $100, bench with honor for $500, or a mature tree to plant for $700. Regular memberships begin at $20. To reach someone about membership or sponsorship opportunities, call (970) 627-8595.

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