The Tweed & Area Arts Council (T&AAC) has reviewed Ontario's updated requirements for Stage 3 opening of performance venues with respect to
the possibility of fall 2020 performances at the Marble Arts Centre. There are many factors to consider as a volunteer, not-for-profit, charitable organization, including:
- A maximum audience size of approximately 25-30 due to physical distancing requirements
- The cost of purchasing plexiglass screening for the stage
- Additional cleaning and sanitization requirements
- Major constraints on operating the bar (a key revenue source)
- The perceived and actual risk for audiences, performers and our volunteer team - informally, many have expressed that they are simply not yet ready
for indoor events
The well-being of patrons, artists, and volunteers is of greatest importance; it is simply not socially or economically viable to hold events at the MAC
at this time. Therefore, it is with disappointment that the decision was made to cancel the remaining scheduled performances and Marble Arts Student
Theatre classes in 2020. We never did open our season in April this year due to COVID-19, and had been assessing the schedule 'month-by-month' in light
of the evolving public health and safety information. Like many other small organizations/venues, we are now facing a year of essentially zero revenue to
offset our operating and other costs.
That said, we plan to be up and running in some form in 2021! We have rescheduled some events, but will re-assess the overall situation in the new year.
In the meantime, enjoy virtual or outdoor performances, do your art at home with friends and family, and consider donating to your favourite artists or
arts organizations to help them through this uncertain time, when many are experiencing a sudden dramatic impact on revenues.
Performances and rentals at the Marble Arts Centre are a major source of revenue for the T&AAC. We always run very leanly on a 'shoestring' budget, but we
need to 'keep paying some bills' so to speak, while we wait out the current situation. We know these are tough times for many businesses, organizations and
individuals. You may wish to consider supporting us through membership, a donation, or our seat sale. See our contact information below. We are a
charitable, not-for-profit organization run entirely by volunteers. Established in 2006, membership is open to all who wish to join. T&AAC was founded on
the belief that the arts are for everyone, and our vision is to enrich the cultural life of the community by promoting awareness of and appreciation for
all of the arts. Charitable tax receipts are issued for memberships and donations.
Board member and seamstress extraordinaire Bonnie Marentette has been sewing masks and accepting donations for the Arts Council. She has collected over
$1200 to date - absolutely amazing... Thank you Bonnie, from the bottom of our hearts! T&AAC is continuing to offer an opportunity for patrons to purchase
a customized, inscribed brass plate for one or more seats at the MAC! For each donation of $50.00, an engraved 1"x2" brass plate is placed at the top
centre of the seat. Of 124 seats available - we only have about 30 left! You will receive a charitable tax receipt ($40.00 for each $50/seat purchased).
There are some arts-related funding programs being announced for COVID-19 relief, and we are certainly reviewing them. However, they primarily focus on
planning for the future, rather than ongoing operations/maintenance costs (heat, electricity, insurance, etc.) that we incur regardless of our basically
non-existent revenue this year. That is why your memberships and donations are so important to help us get through this period of uncertainty.
What Has T&AAC Been Up To?
With the cancellation of all programming this year, our efforts have been refocused. Those registered for the Rick Fines guitar workshop in May were
offered one of the first 'virtual guitar workshops' we'd heard of, courtesy of funding from our partner 'Blue Skies in the Community'. T&AAC is participating
in 'arts recovery' forums being led by the Quinte Arts Council, and the Association of Arts Councils of Ontario.
We met up with the Hastings County Historical Society to record a video on the history of Actinolite and the Marble Church/ Arts Centre as part of a series
on road trips that focus on historical plaques in the region. Chisholm's Mills and the Hungerford small pox epidemic are some of the first on
YourTVBelleville's YouTube channel, and a few others in the Tweed area are in production too. Evan Morton, curator at the Tweed & Area Heritage Centre,
told the tale of Ontario's first all-woman council (1967) for our friends at the Ontario Festival of Small Halls, who are also re-imagining themselves
during this time of very limited concerts. We'll let you know when these are publicly available!
Annual General Meeting Mon. Sept. 28, 7 p.m
Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday Sept. 28 at 7 p.m., in a virtual format via 'Zoom'. Members in good standing will receive further
information via e-mail in advance of the meeting. Note that we do need one or more new Board members this year.
Shout out to Our Volunteers
The T&AAC couldn't do without our volunteers - including Brandon Hartwig and the team at Worry Free Lawn-Care and Property Maintenance that keep our grass
cut, and Derek Lucas who does our snowplowing. Jim Pedersen planted more cedars in the yard this year. Stoco Jewellery Studio did a fine job polishing
the trowel (see below). Maybe you would consider helping out in the future as a board member, on special projects (e.g., fundraising; landscaping;
graphic/ web design etc.; virtual performances) or at our events (e.g., Marble Arts Student Theatre classes, fish fries, performances)? We are a small but
mighty and fun team, looking to share some of the activities we offer for programming, supporting local arts initiatives, and operating/maintaining the MAC. Please contact us!
1864 Trowel Returns to the MAC
The trowel used to lay the cornerstone of the MAC in 1864 has taken a 156-year journey back to its home! The solid silver trowel bears this inscription:
!Presented to Miss Eliza Jane Holton on the occasion of laying the cornerstone of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Bridgewater, June 21, 1864!. In summer
2019, Jeff McKibbon (Sudbury, Ontario) found the trowel while culling through old keepsakes. The trowel needed a polishing but was in otherwise perfect
condition. Jeff's father served as a United Church minister in Flinton and other churches in the area in 1976. He donated the trowel to the Arts Council,
and arranged for its return home. Local resident Marj Buck mounted the trowel in a beautiful shadow box for display in the Marble Arts Centre.
We extend our sincere gratitude to our members, volunteers, artists and supporters - past, present and future. Words cannot express our appreciation of
all those who continue their work on the front lines and behind the scenes in essential services to keep our communities functional, and to protect our
health and safety. We look forward to seeing you all 'on the other side'. Stay safe and healthy!