Voice congratulates Susan Wandell on two successful terms as Arts Council President

Voice member (and 2008 Voice candidate for city council) Susan Wandell has just completed two highly successful terms as President of the New Westminster Arts Council.

We want to congratulate Susan and thank her for the great work she’s done as a tireless advocate for the arts in our community; not to mention the passion she’s shown working on behalf of the New Westminster community in general.

Susan says it’s been “an educational and fun four years” and she’s pleased that the profile of the Arts Council has been “raised tremendously” through the combined efforts of the arts community and the Arts Council board and its members during her time as President.

Some of the highlights of Susan’s two terms as Arts Council President include increasing the Arts Council staff, the appointment of Hilda Cliffe as President Emeritus, the appointment of Tony Antonias as a Lifetime Member, updating the Arts Council’s “branding colour” from burgundy to blue, and trying to save The Burr.

Under Susan’s leadership, the Arts Council also worked with the arts community to ensure that the new Civic Centre included a gallery space, as well as working closely with the City on the Arts Strategy and Theatre Study and partnering with several community groups to purchase the Outdoor Cinema.

Susan also made an arts-related presentation to the provincial legislature’s all-party Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services in September. In her presentation, Susan noted that “the arts are often misunderstood by governments and seen as an unnecessary budgetary expense.”

Susan offered the all-party committee a number of ideas to enhance arts funding and stressed that “the arts must be viewed as an industry that needs to be cultivated; an economic development driver and not simply a frill to society.”

In her President’s report to Arts Council AGM, Susan thanked the Board, the Arts Council office staff (Andree St. Martin and Carolyn McLaughlin), and the Arts Council’s accountant, Peter Bower, for all their efforts.

Susan also thanked the Arts Council’s City Liaison, Councillor Bill Harper, who made a notable effort to attend most of Arts Council Board meetings and provided valuable direction.

Susan says she is also hopeful the Arts Council will revive their very popular Oscar night fundraising event, In Celebration of Film, this coming year.

Our thanks again to Susan Wandell and our best wishes for her and for the arts in New Westminster in the year ahead.