Board members (as of 12/2010) Ian Crawley, President; Aaron Henkelman, Vice President; Charlette Elm, Treasurer; Anne Boyden, Secretary; Margaret Cordill; Susan Emmerson; Dennis French; John Groves; Gary Hoover; Cheryl D. Jackson; Mike Kerber; Laura Murray; Anne Matter; Lisa Morris; Angela Pelusi; Ingrid Ramirez; Judy Struve; Barbara Taft; Gladys Tietz-Mercier;and Marty Vanags
Thank you for your interest in serving on the McLean County Arts Center board of directors. The Arts Center is one of the Midwest’s oldest community-based arts organizations. As a non-profit, we depend on the support of our membership and sponsors to keep out doors open and serve the public.
In the attached pages we have included explanations of the roles of board members and some organizational history. Our bylaws require between 18 and 21 board members, and each board member has at least one committee assignment. Additionally, we look to our board to provide outreach to the community, both in serving as organizational ambassadors and in developing membership and financial support. While we do have an endowment that provides some support, it is through developing relationships with individuals and businesses that we are able to exist.
The MCAC offers twelve exhibitions, more than 125 classes, free workshops, and two community arts festivals. We are the officially designated arts agency for the city of Bloomington, the town of Normal, and the county of McLean. We serve as the re-granting agency for the Illinois Arts Council and our director serves as the leader of the Area Arts Round Table, will be chair of the 2011 One-State Arts Conference and serves on the program committee of Arts Alliance Illinois.
During this challenging economic time the Arts Center continues to be vital to our community. We hope that you will continue to explore the Arts Center as we dialogue with you on this opportunity.
Potential MCAC Board Members are invited to attend an informal discussions held by the Nominating committee several times per year.
We encourage and promote the appreciation, study, cultivation, development,
and practice of the Arts in McLean County.
Every nonprofit Board of Directors is unique, as every organization is unique. However, there are certain general responsibilities that are common to all Boards.
Set the Mission and the Vision of the Organization The Board is responsible for creating the organization's mission and purpose statements, and reviewing them periodically to be sure they fit well with the direction of the organization 's growth. The mission statement explains why the organization exists and who it exists to serve; the vision articulates a picture of the future that the organization hopes to create.
Create a Plan for the Organization The Board is also responsible for working with staff and volunteers to create a strategic plan for the growth of the organization, including resources, staffing, programs, and other aspects of organizational development. Once a plan is created, the Board should help make sure the organization carries it out.
Determine Programs and Projects The Board should take a broad perspective on projects and programs, being sure that the work of the organization is consistent with its mission and vision. The staff and volunteers are responsible for carrying out the programs, and the Board should support them and avoid micromanaging tasks and decisions.
Support and Evaluate the Director The Board is also responsible for evaluating the performance of the organization's executive officer. For this task, it is important to have clear goals and expectations for the position. Generally, the Director is responsible for hiring, firing and evaluating all other staff. The Board should play a support role for the Director as he or she carries out this task and the other work of the organization.
Select the Director One of the Board's biggest responsibilities is to hire the executive officer of he organization. The Board should come to consensus on a solid job description and clear expectations for the job, and then find the most qualified person for the position. The Board also has the responsibility to fire the Director when his or her leadership is no longer in the best interests of the organization.
Recruit, Train and Evaluate Board Members The Board is responsible for its own growth and development, finding committed individuals to serve on the Board, and making sure that the final Board composition is balanced and appropriate. Experienced Board members should take the lead in training and orientation for new members. The Board is also responsible for self-evaluation, to be sure it is adequately carrying out its leadership role.
Build Strong Public Standing The Board serves as the public face of the organization. Board members should promote the mission, vision and programs of the organization, and represent the organization positively to constituents, the media, and the general public.
Ensure Adequate Resources The Board is responsible for making sure that the organization has adequate resources to carry out its work. This includes assisting with fundraising, but can also include seeking in-kind donations of equipment, materials, office space, volunteer assistance, training, educational materials, and so on.
Manage Resources Effectively At the same time, the Board should be sure that the organization is using its resources efficiently. The Board must help develop and approve the annual budget, and be sure that proper financial controls are in place.
Maintain Integrity and Accountability The Board is ultimately responsible for being sure that the organization maintains legal and ethical practices. Creating clear and effective by-laws, staff policies, evaluation methods and grievance procedures all help ensure accountability.
The MCAC is a local arts agency that serves the 154,000 citizens of McLean County. The mission of the MCAC is to encourage and promote the study, cultivation, development, practice and appreciation of the arts in its county. It provides support for area artists and arts organizations in the form of advocacy, technical assistance, workshops, and regranting. It provides the community with visual arts exhibitions, educational programming and technical assistance. The MCAC was incorporated in 1922 and moved to its current location, a renovated church, in 1979. The facility houses two galleries, three classrooms, offices, and storage for the permanent collection and a sales gallery. Located in center of the state, McLean County is home to two universities (Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan), two hospitals, several manufactures (including Mitsubishi Motors), and is home to the national headquarters for the nation’s largest insurance company, State Farm. Once a center for agriculture, the majority of McLean County’s commerce is in the service industry.
Pursuit of Excellence – The MCAC strives to provide the community with art experiences of the highest quality. Over the past several years under the guidance of our curator Alison Hatcher, the MCAC has presented challenging and exciting exhibitions. Several exhibitions have been reviewed in national and regional art magazines including the New Art Examiner and Dialogue magazine. All exhibitions presented at the MCAC have some tie to the Midwest region and specifically McLean County. Because of our strong ties with the highly rated art department at Illinois State University, we have been fortunate enough to present the work of nationally recognized artists, such as Jin Lee, Wendy Jacob, Jim Lutes, Harold Boyd, Joel Philip Myers, Dann Nardi and others.
In order to explain and develop some of the foreign ideas presented by contemporary artists, educational programs are available with each major exhibition. Additional educational programs include a free monthly lecture series called Art Talk, and bus trips to other museums and galleries. Our Brown Bag Lunch series invites the public to specifically learn about the current exhibition and its artist. The MCAC tries to encourage participation in the arts by offering art classes, an annual amateur competition and sponsoring a free summer arts festival with hands-on activities.
Organizational Capability – The MCAC is governed by a Board of Directors with no more that twenty-one members. The Board and staff has developed a new strategic plan designed to better serve the needs of the community, following a comprehensive survey of the area.
A paid, professional staff manages the MCAC. The executive director and the administrative assistant are full time, and the curator, educational coordinator and the custodian are part time (please see attached biographies). Plans are being developed to bring the curator and education coordinator to full time positions. The Board is very conscious of their fiscal responsibilities, as they proceed with annual and new fundraiser.
A pool of forty volunteers helps the staff with the daily activities of running the Arts Center. Usually, there are at least two interns per semester from the area universities that work at the MCAC. In a given year volunteer and Internship time donated often exceeds seven hundred hours.
The MCAC’s fiscal year runs from September 1 to August 31. Every summer the executive director and the finance committee develop a budget, which is visited monthly at the executive committee meeting. The MCAC receives funds from community sources to help support the education and exhibition programs. The MCAC’s income is derived from an endowment, membership, contributions, grants, corporate sponsors, fundraisers, the sale and rental of art, and art class revenues.
The MCAC believes in compensating artists for their work. Thus all instructors for the art classes are professional artists and are paid as independent contractors. In addition, artists that participate in a fundraiser or a MCAC function in the capacity of an artist are compensated for their time.
The MCAC owns its facility. In September 2000, the City of Bloomington passed a $14 million referendum to fund the creation of a cultural campus using the MCAC’s building, the Scottish Rite Temple next door, and the surrounding neighborhood for two blocks. It is planned that the City will renovate the existing buildings, build additional gallery space and build a new education wing. Currently our facility is adequate, but the plans laid forth will allow us to expand our permanent collection, our education programming and our exhibition schedule. The newly formed Cultural District is currently assessing the needs of MCAC's building.
Community Involvement – The MCAC’s galleries are free and open to the public during its regular gallery hours. The facility is handicap accessible on both levels. We do not discriminate as to who may use our facility or participate in the art classes. In order to reach the underserved populations, we market our free workshops to social service agencies that have the most contact with those groups. The education coordinator is conducting a second annual survey of MCAC students to determine their needs, our successes and what areas need improvement. This survey will also help us determine if we are reaching a wider demographic scope than in years past. We have developed contacts with the smaller towns in the county so that we may be better able to provide those areas with services that they may need. We have received requests to outreach even outside our county.
We measure the impact on the community by the attendance levels, media attention and commentaries. In the past year the attendance at the MCAC reached 7600 visitors and more art classes are reaching capacity.
Serving Illinois Artists – The MCAC provides area artists with a rotating sales gallery. The MCAC expands its efforts every winter by presenting the Holiday Treasures Exhibition and Sale. Artists also have an opportunity to sell more work at the annual juried Sugar Creek Arts Festival. Recently, a list was developed of what artists are interested in commission work and in what medium so that interested people can easily locate an artist. And we have developed a list of artists who would be interested in being paid workshop instructors in area schools.
Community Support – As with most not-for-profit organizations, the MCAC is successful because of the generous contribution of time by its many volunteers. Volunteers act as receptionists every week and help control the traffic through the galleries and offices. Volunteers plan and execute our many fundraisers and membership drives. The MCAC is grateful for all their hard work.
The MCAC receives over $11,000 worth of in-kind goods and services annually. This is in the form of design work, printing, food and beverages for opening receptions, and office materials and equipment. The MCAC has received free computer training through the local hospital’s administrative offices last fall. These much needed goods and services help us direct our funds away from administration and toward providing programming to the community.
Each Board member participates in at least one committee. They regularly attend the opening receptions for the exhibitions and are required to sell a minimum amount of tickets to all fundraisers. Most of the twelve exhibitions presented at the MCAC are sponsored by an area business.
In 1870, Mrs. Horace Smith established a studio and gathered a class of students in oil painting. In 1888, one of her students and three other members of the Bloomington Sketch Club were appointed to organize the Bloomington Art Association. Minutes of this organization were recorded through March, 1892. Following this period, a division of the Women's Club maintained community interest in art.
A group of enthusiasts rejuvenated the Bloomington Art Association in 1922. The Charter was issued on April 6, 1922. Their purpose was: "To cultivate an appreciation of art in all of its branches, and to encourage civic improvements." The Russell Gallery in Withers Library housed the Art Association exhibits from 1922 until 1976.
After the roof collapsed in Withers Library, the McLean County Arts Center began operating at 210 E. Washington Street in Bloomington. In addition to the exhibition schedule, art classes for adults and children and the Sales and Rental Gallery were added to the Arts Center programming.
Facing the demolition of the rental building, the Art Association Board of Directors began looking for a permanent home. In the summer of 1979, the Arts Center moved to its present location. Purchase and renovation of the building at 601 N. East Street was made possible by pledges from the community. Having taken over the agency functions of the McLean County Arts Council, the Arts Center was now facilitating space, scheduling, and programming for all of the county's arts organizations.
The Town of Normal granted official agency designation in 1991, and by the City of Bloomington, as well as McLean County in 1992.
Currently the Arts Center presents approximately twelve exhibitions yearly, including the annual Holiday Treasures exhibition and the annual Amateur Competition and Exhibition which for over 70 years has showcased the best amateur artists from the region. The Center also offers art classes, artist lectures, art workshops for children and adults and associated performing and literary arts presentations.
As the downtown Bloomington Cultural District expands opportunities for the community, the McLean County Arts Center will be a central participant.
Updated: February, 2009