Over the last five years The Holland Area Arts Council Board, staff and stakeholders have done some critical soul searching. We conducted an on-line survey which asked some pointed questions about how the public perceives our organization. We sought advice from the Dorothy Johnson Center of Philanthropy ands well as the Community Foundation of Holland Zeeland. We held a day-long board retreat in 2014 to look critically at the responses from this survey and our mentors and created a Strategic plan which focuses on “the Arts Council Re-imagined”.
From this strategic planning session we made some bold decisions about our future which will make us a stronger and more sustainable organization. As a result the Arts Council will continue to be a valuable presence in downtown Holland and continue to serve the Lakeshore Area with arts advocacy, arts education programs for all ages, leadership in collaborative projects with the arts and cultural community, assistance in public art projects and cultural celebrations.
Planning our future strategically ensures that the Arts Council stays true to our mission, "to educate, engage and challenge our community through the Arts." In 2015 the Board and staff met once again for a day-long session to review our progress and set our path for 2016. We held a design charrette–inviting community members to get in on the reimagining. Staff attended a KOLBY strength assessment seminar -sponsored by the Lakeshore Non-profit Alliance - where we measured our talents and strengths, and how we work best as a team.
Most importantly, in June, 2016 we opened The Studio, an interactive space for children and families to explore the principles of art and design. Art and design drive imagination, innovation and understanding of a bigger world. West Michigan has developed a reputation for excellence in art – and particularly design. We engage our schools, local artists and design firms as partners in The Studio and create a space that is a destination for learning about and experiencing the principles of art and design through interactive play, creative projects, and exhibitions.
As a coordinated part of this design initiative, we will “take our show on the road” in order to make these experiences available throughout our community. Two ArtCarts will be portable and will demonstrate some of the basic principles of design and allow participants to experiment with various techniques. In this way – not only visitors to our area but children in our local schools and neighborhoods can learn from and enjoy the hands-on creative experience.
This is why the community’s support and investment has meant so much. We invite the entire community to be a part of our future by serving on our planning committees, volunteer and help us as we develop these new initiatives. Your involvement guarantees that the Holland Area Arts Council will continue to be a strong, creative force today and every day.