The CLiC Photo Show is the third of the arts council’s six signature events to leave. The Prince Edward County Music Festival left PECAC earlier in 2016. The Prince Edward County Jazz Festival became independent last year with an agreement taking effect in January 2017. The arts council’s website now only boasts the Maker’s Hand event, Studio Tour and Art in the County.
“Last fall PECAC told the CLiC committee that as of 2017, County entrants would be required to join PECAC as a condition of entry,” said Bert Jenkins, co-chair of the photography show for the past three years, with Margaret Liddon.
The photo show committee, he said, decided the $40 membership fee added on for County residents, and a $7 artists levy to entrants from outside the County were unreasonable. CLiC was told to levy the funds on its entry forms, raising the cost from $35 (2016 figure) to $75 for County entrants, and $42 for entrants who were not residents of the County.
“Despite attempts at negotiation, PECAC refused to budge and the CLiC committee considered neither the extra financial imposition, nor the resulting two-tier entry fee to be reasonable, said Jenkins.
At last year’s seventh annual show, there were 420 images submitted by 146 entrants. Jenkins notes about one-third of the entrants were based in the County with the remainder coming in from all over an eastern Ontario catchment area.
The juried competition attracted more than 2,000 visitors to its two-week summer show viewing submissions from photographers of all levels in three categories – Visible World Colour, Visible World Monochrome or Altered Reality and Emerging Photography (for students).
The CLiC committee did not consider attempting to run the show on their own, said Jenkins.
“We talked to Jazz and we were told that unless we had in-house legal and financial expertise we should not even remotelty consider it,” he said. “We attempted to find a home with the Quinte Arts Council but in essence, time was too short… The website was taken down in the last few weeks.”
PEC’s Jazz Festival, founded in 2000, took the past year and a half to became a charitable, not-for-profit.
“We had worked together with PECAC for 15 years and it was mutually agreed that it was appropriate for PECJF to operate on its own,” said John Puddy, festival president. “The board of directors of PECAC and the Jazz Committee came to a mutual recognition that it was appropriate for the PECJF to become a separate organization. We have appreciated the support that the PEC Arts Council has provided to us over the years.”
The PEC Music Festival’s season last September was its first on its own and plans are under way to continue for this fall. Contact was not made with the committee chair by publication time.
In November 2016, Sue Barclay, chair of the arts council, announced “new blood and a shift in focus” with the hiring of of the organization’s first executive director Janna Smith.
The 30-year-old group had surveyed the local arts community and noted in a press release that the organization’s role and relevance in the arts community was not well understood.
Its website currently lists about 100 artist members and nine business members.
“We heard that the arts council was perceived as under funded and disconnected and that people weren’t sure what the council’s purpose was,” said Barclay, in November. She also noted that contributing to the success of the County’s arts events has been PECAC’s strength, but going forward, it looks to focus on the organization’s impact and renewing its place in the community.
“We want people to know that we’re a resource that can help arts initiatives get off the ground,” she said, also noting the PECAC’s five-year strategic plan will place a priority on improved communication, community outreach and support for artists.
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