Minutes - Arts Sector Meeting (May 7, 2020)

*To contribute additions or revisions to these notes please email Angie at contactus@pecchamber.com

Reminder that these notes are not meant to represent a transcript of the meeting. Details from the CHAT window follow notes.

COVID-19 Recovery Meeting : Arts & Entertainment

Mike Harper, Councillor - Welcome to everyone on the call and thank you for coming. We’ve been doing these calls for a few weeks now. We’ve covered a lot of sectors in the economy. Sarah and the BIA , Lesley at the Chamber and Councillor Phil St. Jean. Today we have Krista Dalby joining us as the lead from the MERT (Municipal Economic Recovery Team) for this sector. We are looking at the recovery and we are looking for you to help us help you. We’re going to try to get as many of you talking as possible so we understand where the common ground might be and the needs. It won’t be perfect and it won’t all be covered today but we will do our best. To clarify the recent announcement of the extension of the closure to July 31st– it was not directed at businesses only to municipal properties. We are in the camp of business and we want to help you get back in business as quickly as we can.

Mike to callers – we are going to try something different – we are starting with Julianne Snepsts.

Julianne – I am the host of Arts Scene on County FM. We also try to do some news programming. I would like to record/report on this call for that purpose. I will not share your name or info if you do not want me to. Please send me a chat message if you want to.

Mike – now we are going to Krista who is the MERT lead for this industry

Krista – Nice to see you all. I’ve popped my info into the chat so if you want to contact me please do so. I think what we are trying to do today is to focus on the commonalities and find ways to work together, support each other. Cross promote each other and bring our products to the market. Large gatherings may not be happening for some time. In B.C. – no large gatherings are allowed over 50 until a vaccine is found. We do not know what Ontario will decide. There may be new opportunities to share our work online or in outdoor spaces. Please free to follow up with me.

Mike – Nell Casson we will start with you – what are the top issues and needs as you see it

Nell – I’m a fine artist working in Picton. I have worked with Krista with festivals. I feel that we should address how we can assemble as groups. I was thinking the main street of Picton and looking to see if there are vacancies – is there a way to use the store front windows for displays.

Mike – are David and Jeannette Goodman there?

David – I’m here on behalf of my wife Jeannette who is a fine artist, painter and a picture framer. Getting supplies we need for the art may be an issue. The framing is done in our house. We either have them drop it off and we take pics and show them the options or we are fortunate that our framing room is long enough that our client can be in the room and far enough away. I have surgical grade masks and gloves and that is how we’ve managed so far. The biggest issues is getting over the inertia so far and getting past that.

Mike – we will go to Sarah Moran

Sarah – is Janna Smith here – yes ok then she will talk about the Arts Council. I am thinking about the great importance of the short term but I would be interested in investing in ideas that are useful for the long term. Restrictions are a concern over the long term. We need to be thinking about sustainable ideas that we need to keep going. And some of them may be really smart things that last forever. I think the online things are very sustainable and may come on board and be very successful in the future.

Mike we will move on to Janna Smith

Janna – I’m the Executive Director of the Arts Council. What we do is we advocate for artists fees. Re: the storefronts in Picton, we could use our Arts Grant to pay for artists fees. We want to make sure artists are paid for the art that they do. We’ve been funding more traditional public arts but we do welcome artists to take their work online and support them. Continuing with our programs and our events puts money into the pockets of our artists. For now Art in the County will be online this year and we will look down the road to teaching opportunities for artists online. Helping artists connect virtually to artists. A lot of artists are teachers – so how do we get them back to that? We are looking to fill the gaps and find out who is slipping through the cracks – we are not a funding body per se. we are here to support and discuss and to be open to longer and short term solutions.

Mike – Paul Snepsts

Paul – I am in the performing arts – I run Comedy Country, Taste That and Camp Picton. We are sort of patiently approaching how to take comedy into an online space that are not zoom meetings. We are looking at ways to gather all the hilarious and goofy things to celebrate the County. We are looking to pool some marketing events between different parties. We are curious to hear what other people are interested in.

Mike – now Lenny Epstein

Lenny – I am a performing artist in the field of comedy and a filmmaker. The funniest thing about me is that I used to me be a municipal councillor. I think we are well positioned to come up with solutions to this. I think the one opportunity we have is access to a global market right now. I think we can grow our market especially for when things do get back up and running. A lot of our shows are for 30-40 people and I’m not sure what the comfort level will be for being together in groups of that size and I’m not sure what the recommendations from the County will be. I’m not sure if people will come out in large groups or if they will be uncomfortable.

Mike - to Carlyn Moulton

Carlyn – I’m the owner of Oeno Art Gallery, purveyors of paintings and sculpture- I think we are different in that for the last few years we have really pushed to be online. Our experiences are that during COVID-19 we have doubled our figures from last year. We are doing live online events with our artists and the proceeds are going to the food bank. We are shooting virtual exhibitions and we are doing auctions during those. Those are going very well. We are busier than we’ve ever been.

Mike – any advice Carlyn – tricks of trade let us know

Janice – I’m on the board of the Baxter Arts Centre – we are in a bind since many of our projects have to do with groups of people. Kids and such. We are worried about how to get things on track. We’ve had some meetings and talks about ideas but unless we have people online following along at home it is difficult.

Renay Weissman – I’m a performing artist and a musician. What I’m hearing and what I’m noticing – I’m trying to keep up with all the performances online. We had all these gigs set up and they’ve all been cancelled. I’ve seen people having a lot of issues with technology – I think what we need is assistance with the technology. Support for artists like me so we can be part of the community. I think a directory so that we know who is in the art community and what area of it.

Mike – I’m going to turn to the Wallis’s – I see Glen and Susan

Susan – It’s just me, no Glen. I have to agree with our previous speaker – Janice – I think the online education is really important for artists. I’m buoyed to hear that Carlyn’s doing so well online as it shows that there is an online market for artists. There was an event I was not able to go to because of this crisis but the artist did the event online and I’ve had some sales, which is great. I think maybe the Arts Council or the County could do something? I think zoom could be an interesting way of presenting it.

Mike lets go to Rick Zimmerman

Rick – I’m an actor, instructor – in the fall with my partner I had entered into a rental of a store front theatre. The store front space is slowly coming along. Lenny’s remarks re: groups – our space is a maximum 50 people in the space. So we are not sure if there will be people who want to get out when they can or will they be afraid. Like so many people have mentioned we are wondering what is coming down the road and how do we deal with the lack of info we have

Jen Lyons – I am the Head Curator for the County Museums – we are following the lead of the County for re-opening. We are focusing a lot on social media channels and we are turning to a lot of organizations that set standards for museums. They have some really good templates for that. We are looking at possibilities of timed entrances. Small groups have always been our wheelhouse but we think we will be looking at outdoor programming more. Shifting our focus a little bit. For the last couple of years we have been really focused on experiential, on hands programming and so this is really a shift for us. We are going to have to reimagine things like the escape room and we are really interested in how Camp Picton will be dealing with that

Alexandra Seay – I am the Theatre Manager of The Regent Theatre. Our capacity is over 400 so 50 people will not fit the bill. We have one staff person and we don’t have the capacity to reach 400 people online. I am looing at us having 50 people and growing from there. The problem is monetizing that. Artists are being asked a lot of right now and they need to get paid. We are a venue and it is a challenge to operate at this time. We are very open to a collaboration with local artists – like the storefront idea. Our main purpose is to host large events and there is only so much of that that we can do moving into the future. On a very specific issue – when we do get the ok to reopen – cleaning – who is cleaning and how much is it costing and the marketing – informing the public that we are safe. Funding wise we are going to need support. That request has gone to the feds but I wanted to mention that for the County level.

Julianne Snepsts – I’m a local artist – we are doing online improv and it is a paid event next week so we will see how that goes. We are going to reopen Camp Picton and when we do everything will be private rooms, different parties will not be able to work together and there will have to be time between groups for cleaning. I wanted to flag what the arts community may be facing. Storefronts and outdoor areas can be great performance places. We would probably need County and Fire Stations support. Fast tracking of permits. So that art can be made in new ways. Plus we need to have the marketing pieces to make sure people know its safe and so that people aware of what’s going on. As an improviser we use venues that are not our own spaces. One of the issues I see myself, is understanding how to make sure those spaces are safe for your audiences.

Mike – I will follow up with one point – re: sanitization – we’ve been talking to a lot of industries about that. There will be resources available to explain the expectations of that in the vey near future

Benjamin Thornton – I’m on the board of the Regent Theatre – there’s lot s of discussion at the board level as Alexandra has represented us very well. Of course, the building is very old and requires a lot of upkeep.

Carole Falkner – I’m with the Baxter Arts Centre – the strength in what you are saying is in the community collaboration. Is there an opportunity for a one stop shop – can PEC come together where there is hubs of themselves. It is exhausting and overwhelming all the emails and invites to different online events. How can we somehow come together to pool it all to let the audiences know what is going on all in one place.

Mike – we’re going next to Michelle Stewart

Michelle – I have an STA since 2015 so I’m not in the arts in the County however I recently retired and my background is marketing and media. I’ve worked with recording studios. If you are looking for online help I am available.

Mike – Lesley – anything you want to say

Lesley – not specifically but I will reach out to people. I am hearing a lot of things that will be realised and there is hope and I look forward to connecting with each of you.

Sarah from BIA – we are not ready to announce some things that are in development right now but the concerns have been pretty similar across the industry meetings. I want to encourage people to update the local pec website to inform people of their details. Developments are coming.

Trevor Crowe – County Staff – encouraging people to utilize the Have Your Say platform there is an arts page. It is being updated every day and there is a general COVID-19 resource page. There’s a Q & A where you can ask a question and county staff will bet back to you

Lesley – we will be doing a follow up call/meeting – we’ve been doing these calls for 7 weeks. On May 19th there will be our final call with a presentation for all the industries together and there will be information about tools going forward. I would be remiss not to promote our website and COVID-19 page. We have some of the same info as the County and we are working with them. We also have different business information on our page.

Phil St. Jean – thank you Mike. This has been an amazing resource and we’ve had positive responses from a lot of people. We have been taking notes on everything so that we can compile our May 19th presentation. Thank you Trevor for the Have Your Say site that is for everyone, not just businesses. I have been hearing that people are anxious to get going and from the municipality we are making things happen as quickly as we can make them happen. Coming together is the one big positive thing I think will come out of this. A common goal and a common direction. I’m looking forward to us getting back to business

Renay – something else I wanted to mention – when the small businesses open up that would have hired musicians in the past it is going to be very hard for them. I would like for their to be some support from the county for performance artists who have no way to perform anymore

Carlyn – I just want to throw out there that we own the countyconcierge.ca – other county’s have concierge services. Rather than this year focussing on bringing the tourists to us we should look at bringing what we have to offer to the tourists through that .ca and I am willing to offer that up for that purpose.

Lenny – linking the online world and the real world will be hard but necessary. There could be a lot of pay off to it. Real delivery of wine, cheese, etc to people along with art can be really valuable. I’ve seen musicians who perform here and they have 30-40 people in person but they are also broadcasting online and suddenly they have 800 or more people. I think there is a lot of potential there.

Krista – to the note of monetizing performances – I think some musicians online are using Tip Jar which is one way of monetizing the performances. So many wonderful ideas, collaboration is key. One of my main concerns going forward is the Regent Theatre. It is such an incredible resource of our community. Maybe if we can only do events of 50 people we just do a lot of those events. Even with the comedy 50 people may not seem large but it could work in the Regent Theatre spaced out. I know that technology is a real issue for people and that rural bandwith is a real problem for people although not sure what we can do about that in the near future.

Sarah – notes have been taken and then will be sent out and they are available on the Have Your Say site, in our newsletter and on the Chamber site

Mike – thanks to everyone – we appreciate all of your insights and we look forward to seeing you in the future.

CHAT WINDOW notes below:

From Krista Dalby to Everyone: 10:04 AM

You can all feel free to email me at kfdalby@gmail.com

From Sarah - Picton BIA to Everyone: 10:12 AM

Love the idea to fill empty storefronts/windows. We're going over the budget to re-allocate funds for recovery efforts and this will definitely be part of the discussion.

From Krista Dalby to Everyone: 10:13 AM

I love that idea too!

From Alexandra Seay to Everyone: 10:13 AM

Me too. We have lots of Main Street window frontage currently being underutilized....would love to contribute.

From Janna Smith to Everyone: 10:13 AM

Perhaps we could use our public art grant program to pay artists fees.

From Paul and Julianne Snepsts to Everyone: 10:14 AM

Empty storefronts make great small scale performance venues

From Janna Smith to Everyone: 10:14 AM


From Nell Casson to Everyone: 10:15 AM

Build on the Thursday Arts Crawl - with a Walking tour...

From Sarah - Picton BIA to Everyone: 10:16 AM

Nice to see you Cole!

From Cole St. Pierre to Everyone: 10:17 AM

Nice to see you too Sarah!

From Krista Dalby to Everyone: 10:20 AM

PECAC has a COVID-19 resource page on their website: https://countyarts.ca/connect/

From sarahmoran to Everyone: 10:23 AM

I agree about going more “global”. This is what Fogo island have done.

This is also investment for the long term,

From Carole Falkner to Everyone: 10:28 AM

Can som

From Sarah - Picton BIA to Everyone: 10:28 AM

Everyone is welcome to add a listing to supportlocalpec.ca

From Carlyn Moulton to Everyone: 10:31 AM

Creating experiences is one thing but focusing on economic viability is also critical. As business owner my job is to connect artists and collectors. By going on line our customer base has become global. Most of our customers are now in other countries.

We gave decided that we will NOT open to the public. The liability issues are too great. I don't want to expose staff or clients. Only going to open by appointment.

From sarahmoran to Everyone: 10:32 AM

What about your sculpture garden Carlyn?

From Carlyn Moulton to Everyone: 10:33 AM

We are installing sculptures. It may be open for very distanced walking for limited numbers of people. But mostly Im installing for photography so we can put them on line.

From David to Everyone: 10:38 AM

It seems to me 1 of the key issues: One is creating a public consciousness of The County being consistently safe & ready for opening whenever - with a very broad range of open attractions to overcome the stay at-home online inertia - a reason to physically come here.

From Carlyn Moulton to Everyone: 10:39 AM

How can we say things will be safe indoors for gatherings? We are probably at least out two years from a vaccine. And even then, there is no going back to "normal". Rapid implementation of online sales strategies is very possible and its demonstrably effective at least for the sale of objects like paintings and sculptures. Experience is probably harder but we have great video resources in the community that can be deployed.

From sarahmoran to Everyone: 10:41 AM

Outdoor movies this summer?

Yes, Julianne… municipal support. We have found with farmer’s market…it can’t be done under this emergency without municipal support.

From Nell Casson to Everyone: 10:41 AM

Not to mention the moistly cheering and laughing

From David to Everyone: 10:42 AM

Online registry of businesses that meet a local standard that may be even above provincial minimum - a distinctive destinatio

From Paul and Julianne Snepsts to Everyone: 10:42 AM

moistly cheering and laughing is a huge concern - it’s hard to get a good vibe when people are 6 feet apart and holding in their moistures

From David to Everyone: 10:43 AM

Group buying of cleaning & sanitization supplies to reduce costs??

From Carlyn Moulton to Everyone: 10:44 AM

I own the url countyconcierge.ca. Id be willing to use it for the one stop shop for place to get access to County stuff - tickets, products. Export and delivery to Toronto and Ottawa and montreal

From Nell Casson to Everyone: 10:45 AM

Dunrose Products?

From Paul and Julianne Snepsts to Everyone: 10:45 AM

Paul Snepsts - paul@torontosketchfest.com

From Carlyn Moulton to Everyone: 10:45 AM

Alexandra bake is leading group purchase of sanitization supplies

From David to Everyone: 10:46 AM

Sounds good Carlyn - I think a County seal of approval for meeting Standards could be useful

From Paul and Julianne Snepsts to Everyone: 10:47 AM

Carlyn - county concierge would be great for a one stop landing place for all of the online arts content right now - and the County could amplify it to help us all reach those non-local audiences that will create financial viability for these projects

From Janna Smith to Everyone: 10:49 AM

Trevor what is that link?

From David to Everyone: 10:49 AM

Also - a daily updated list of all businesses with profile, hours, availability etc so that I can refer my guests witout guessing

From Trevor Crowe - County Staff to Everyone: 10:49 AM


From Carlyn Moulton to Everyone: 10:50 AM

Im willing to share how visual arts can be marketed on line for galleries or artists

From Jen Lyons to Everyone: 10:50 AM

For The Baxter - look to the Tett in Kingston, some really neat initiatives coming out of there. Also, maybe a partnership with the Library system?

From Carole Falkner to Everyone: 10:52 AM

Thanks Jen, yes I agree the Tett is a great source I’m looking at. Love the partnership idea with the Library

From Jen Lyons to Everyone: 10:53 AM

Also... if the storefront initiative develops,keep museum exhibits in mind too. :)

From David to Everyone: 10:53 AM

Right on Councillor - cohesive County consciousness of the public to us

From Glen Wallis to Everyone: 10:54 AM

Carlyn, I might take you up on your offer.

From David to Everyone: 10:54 AM

Perfect Carlyn - 1 stop

From sarahmoran to Everyone: 10:56 AM

Carlyn, good idea. A little piece of county delivered to you. Hampers anyone?

From David to Everyone: 10:56 AM

First a tease of what the County eperience can be, then a call to action to actually visit in person

From Alexandra Seay to Everyone: 10:56 AM

The idea of event/performance + hampers, is great. Happy to continue a conversation about that kind of collaboration.

From sarahmoran to Everyone: 10:58 AM

Hanges at Loch Sloy even bigger than the Regent for 6 feet spacing…oh and military gas masks!!!

From Alexandra Seay to Everyone: 10:58 AM

Thanks for that Krista! Very open conversations with folks: Alexandra@theregenttheatre.org

From Paul and Julianne Snepsts to Everyone: 10:58 AM

What about finding “urban” places that rural folks can use to do broadcasts or large file uploads - sched From sarahmoran to Everyone: 10:59 AM

Oops “hangers” at Loch Slow. uled use, cleaned in between etc

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