The Barrie Arts and Culture Council was incorporated as a non-profit in November 2010. But our history is a little longer.
In 2008, the newly formed Department of Culture for the City of Barrie created the Barrie Arts Advisory Committee by putting out a call to all parties interested in supporting arts and culture. After conducting interviews, the Department of Culture selected seven residents with diverse backgrounds and experience to be part of the Barrie Arts Advisory Committee.
The Department of Culture provided this new group with a draft Terms of Reference at the inaugural meeting in July 2008. The intent from the outset was that the Barrie Arts Advisory Committee be at arm’s length from city hall in order to best advise the Department and to best advocate on behalf of the arts community – a role we still serve today as the Barrie Arts and Culture Council.
2008: Barrie Arts Advisory Committee
- Focused on developing a Public Art Policy at the urgent request of the Department of Culture.
- Developed a mandate, a website and social media presence.
- Developed a blog to disseminate information and collect feedback, including public review and comment on Public Art Policy recommendations and mandate.
2009: Talk BAAC and Community Needs
Talk BAAC public session (May 2009):
- Presented draft Public Art Policy.
- Introduced ourselves to the community and received input on the most pressing issues and needs, primarily communication and collaboration. Communication included more than just advertising events, but networking and cooperating with other artists or organizations.
- Heard urgent request from many for media and social media workshops, which were later provided by our members through the Department of Culture.
- Accepted audience consensus to have us explore the development of a central website that would allow artists to reach artists and audience, a single site for arts and culture events in Barrie. This site would also serve as the master database from which print materials could be easily and efficiently generated.
Following Talk BAAC:
- Began preliminary research and discussions to develop an arts and culture events site, including meetings regarding community partnerships with organizations such as Tourism Barrie, and research into funding initiatives to realize this project.
- Advocated during early discussions regarding the redevelopment of Allandale Station and the railway lands. Attended Allandale Village Community Consultation workshops and meetings, participated in numerous interviews, presented recommendations, and wrote letters in support of the cultural and creative elements of the redevelopment.
- Advocated and rallied the arts community in support of the Downtown Community Theatre and its renovation and subsequent redevelopment. Began working with the Downtown Theatre Consultation Group.
- Recommendations made to the Department of Culture included the creation of a Poet Laureate for Barrie, increased traditional and electronic postering opportunities for groups, promotion of local artists over imports, creation of a Public Art and Architecture committee to protect heritage buildings and turn vacant lots downtown into temporary art gardens, and improvements to the Barrie Arts Awards and cultural grants.
- Recommended successfully that City Council allow Department of Culture staff access to social media websites in order to serve the arts community.
- Aided Department of Culture consultants in the Barrie Region Culture Market Profile Research.
- Recognized that we were doing more than originally envisaged and more than what the name Barrie Arts Advisory Committee implied. Without another organization in the role, we had become the city’s arts council. Not a granting body, but an umbrella organization with a mandate to support local arts and culture. Began using the name Barrie Arts Council.
2010: BAC to BACC
- Received cultural grant funding from the City of Barrie. Majority designated to developing the Barrie Arts Network – online database of local artists and arts organizations.
- Continued advocacy to ensure the Downtown Theatre redevelopment received City funding and final approval. Attended numerous workshops and meetings with city staff, architects and community groups to ensure new theatre would meet community needs.
- Held public session, Art is Education, to assess how we might support the arts and culture needs of students, teachers and artists in schools. Issues of communication and collaboration were again central to these discussions, reinforcing the need for a central hub or network.
- Participated in workshops and interviews for Barrie Arts and Culture Marketing plan, helped distribute Created in Barrie research.
- Invited new board members from different streams of the arts and with diverse experience to aid in renewed outreach to the community through the Barrie Arts Network and other means.
- Began monthly meetings with the Department of Culture strengthen partnership and offer recommendations less formally and more regularly.
- Due to legalities of our incorporation, we became the Barrie Arts and Culture Council.
2011: BACC on Track
- Execution of the Barrie Arts Network in beta. Public launch scheduled for May 2011.
- Blog used extensively to distribute event announcements and news important to arts community.
- Monthly meetings with the Department of Culture to offer recommendations, formal and informal, on a wide variety of issues.
- Continued support for the Barrie Arts and Culture Marketing plan.
- Taking input from you! We are here for you – our arts community. If there are issues or things you’d like to see happening please do not hesitate to talk to us.