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PEC Arts Council shifts focus with first executive director

Janna Smith - Photo by Johnny Lam Photography

Janna Smith – Photo by Johnny Lam Photography

Prince Edward County’s Arts Council hopes new blood will provide a shift in focus with the hiring of its first executive director.

With the hiring of Janna Smith, the non-profit aims to increase its impact in the community through new partnerships and programs to help further artists’ practice and contribute to the local economy.

“Contributing to the success of County arts events has been the Arts Council’s strength, but it’s not a story that has been widely told,” said Sue Barclay, chairperson of the board. “We want people to know that we’re a resource that can help arts initiatives get off the ground.”

Over its 30-year history, the Arts Council has established some of the County’s favourite events such as the jazz and music festivals, Art in the County, The Maker’s Hand, CLiC Photo Show, and has helped sustain the PEC Studio Tour and the Arts Trail.

“But after surveying the local arts community, the Council’s executive board of directors realized that the organization’s role and relevance in the arts community was not well understood,” said Barclay. “They heard that the Arts Council was perceived as under funded and disconnected, and people weren’t sure what the council’s purpose was.”

With Smith at the helm, the council’s five-year strategic plan places a priority on improved communication, community outreach, and support for artists. Smith is tasked with increasing the organization’s impact and renewing its place in the community.

“As a nonprofit organization that is run by a board of volunteers, we realized that to accomplish our new goals, we needed someone with leadership who could bring our vision to life,” said Barclay. “We want the executive director to be focused on securing new resources, developing new programs, and forging new partnerships within the community.”

After interviewing nearly a dozen candidates out of some 20 who applied for the position from across the province, the board gave Smith the nod. An arts administrator with more than 15 years experience working in the cultural sector, she previously served on the Arts Council’s executive board for two years before resigning in May of 2016.

She and husband Duncan Moore moved to the County from Montreal in 2013, and welcomed their first child in June of this year. Smith has been active in the community, as a recent trustee for Awesome PEC, and Administrative Manager at Festival Players during the 2015 season.

She officially steps into her new role on January 2, 2017.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to implement this exciting new direction for the Arts Council,” said Smith, “I’m particularly keen to develop new programs that have a tangible impact for County artists.”

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