The Cortes Island Museum just held its AGM. They have hired two summer students, plan to hire an Events Coordinator, and are gearing up for the Creative Spaces Garden and Studio Tour this summer. These are the topics that Managing Director/Curator Melanie Boyle discussed with Cortes Currents.
The Museum AGM was at Mansons Hall, from 1 to 3:30 on Saturday May 6, 2023.
“There were 43 people in attendance. We’re known for our smooth and I think fairly quick business end of our AGM. Nancy Kendel did a fabulous job and various board members pitched in with a summary of the year. Nancy went over our highlights, granting and anything new we’ve got going on. I spoke about the exhibition here at the museum, and Donna Collins spoke about the exhibitions that are happening over at Wild Cortes. They are having a really exciting kickoff to their season,” said Boyle.
“The feature really was two things.”
“We had a raffle for a spot on board the Misty Isles. A giant globe, with a whole cut in it, was our ticket ball. We drew the raffle at the very end of Jeanette Taylor’s presentation.”
“It was a launch for her new book called Sheltering in the Backrush: A History of Twin Islands, recently published by Harbour Publishing. This was a book launch with Marnie’s Books, so we did that collaboratively. Jeanette did a really beautiful job presenting the book and the history of Twin Islands. She just had enough intrigue and stories to keep people on their toes and edge of their seats.”
“There were questions at the end where people pitched in their own memories of Twin Islands, a discussion about oysters and the origin of oysters in this region. It was really, really nice. She’s very good at what she does, and it’s a good book. I recommend everybody read it. There are copies down at Marnie’s, of course, and we have copies here at the museum.”
CC: What kinds of challenges and successes did you have last year?
MB: “No challenges come to mind. One of the highlights was the traveling exhibition we were able to bring in, the Suitcase Project. The content of that exhibition and the way we’re able to engage some guest curators, Ayami Stryck and Suzu, and broaden out the conversation around culture and diversity and heritage here on the island was really good.”
“I think it was really informative and it got people thinking about the Japanese Canadian community here presently, but also in the past, historically, and questions of home and having to leave your home. If you were forced to abandon everything, what you would take with you.”
“I think having that community component of reflection was really good.”
She pointed out that we happen to be talking about this in May 2023: “Asian Heritage Month, that’s one thing I want to make note of, thinking of culture and heritage and the area that we work within.”
“I think our greatest success was what we called the new programming model, being able to hire an events coordinator. It really created so much positive energy and enthusiasm and interest around what we do.”
“Last year, with some funding, we were able to hire Laura Balducci for this position. She did a really great job and there was a lot of energy coming through the museum all summer long.”
“This year we’re offering that same position. We’ve posted advertisements on our website, on our social media platforms and channels, as well as the Tideline. It’s a contract and it runs from June to September. The role of an events coordinator is to create programs or activities, any special events for the museum as well as Wild Cortes. To really meet the interests and needs of the community and extend the life of our exhibitions and to work very closely with myself, as Managing Director, and the board. The person ought to be well organized, have connections within the community and really just be energetic and a creative thinker, much like Laura was last summer.”
“We welcome many resumes and any inquiries to myself or through the museum general email box.
CC: What kind of hours will the events coordinator be expected to put in, and what will his or her salary be?
MB: “We’ve done it a little bit differently. It’s a 240 hour contract, rather than at a salaried position. We found last year there are some months that are very busy, like the front end of the summer organizing and lining things up. Then as the summer and the season goes on, it’s often delivering those programs or events, being present and setting up,takedown, organizing and working with the volunteers etc. The feedback we had from last year was to have a contract with flexible hours, so to meet the nature of the job itself and the demands from other things that are going on in the island.”
“The wage is $24 an hour and the person’s schedule ought to be flexible because sometimes there are things in the evening. Last year we had book launches in the evenings or that film festival, which was an evening event.”
CC: The Creative Spaces Garden and Studio Tour will be on Saturday, July 8, from 9:30 AM until 4:30 PM.
MB: “We originally held it every year. It’s a fundraiser for the museum and we’ve run it for, I think, almost 20 years. With Covid and the restrictions and so forth, it’s been four years since we’ve run our last one.”
“So we’re really, really excited to offer it this year. We’re just gathering the final list of people who’ve come forward. We have studios and gardens starting out in Whaletown, Cortes Bay, the Mansons Landing area, and the South End. Gerry Davis is the lead volunteer. She and I are working closely together and that’s been really super helpful to have her assistance and creativity, and bringing that energy to the event.”
“I’ve never been on it myself, so I’m new to it. Jane Newman, our previous Managing Director/Curator, will be on the tour, as well a great range of artists and gardeners. Of course we’ve got the Fairhaven Gardens, Whaletown Garden Center and Hollyhock.”
“We’ll have things happening here at our Heritage Garden as well. We’ve invited artists who don’t necessarily want to have people visit their home spaces, but they can come here and set up a table and offer their artwork or their crafts. Refreshments will be served.”
“We’re encouraging people who participate, to sell their flowers, vegetables, or their artwork. I think that’s a real feature for people who are on the tour to see where all these items are produced.”
“Anyone is welcome to volunteer. We always love volunteers to get involved with the museum.”
“We’ll be selling the tickets in local shops, as well as the museum, early in June. The tickets will be $15 for an individual, or $25 per family. You get a brochure, which is your map, which is your ticket, and a little pin. It’s a self-guided tour around the island.”
“We are really lucky to get funding once more this year to hire summer students, Sean Nightingale and Lilly Allen. Sean will be joining Donna Collins and Laurel Bohart once more over at Wild Cortes. They’re thrilled to have him back. We’ve been able to hire Lilly Allen for our host/interpreter this summer at the museum. If you stop by the museum or Wild Cortes, you’ll have an opportunity to meet these really dynamic young people.”
“We’re gearing up for a good season. Love to have an Events Coordinator come forward from the community to fill that role. Wild Cortes has a lot going on. We’re going to be doing education programs relating to the exhibition we have on currently. So stay tuned for what we hope is another really dynamic and fun season here at the Cortes Island Museum and Archives.”
Top image: Tree Dressing on Family Day – Photo courtesy Cortes Island Museum
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