Sask. Arts Board policy change

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Change in policy hopes to lead to more representation. Courtesy of the Saskatchewan Arts Board

Hope is for more representation on the org.’s board

By Janna Wood, Arts and Culture writer

On February 19, 2020, the Saskatchewan Arts Board (SAB) announced a change in their conflict of interest policies which will allow artists and art professionals who are seeking agency- provided grants to also serve as board members. Now, they are calling upon the arts community to send in nominations of qualified individuals who would excel in this vital role. Candidates may either nominate themselves or be nominated by others.

Citing a need for greater representation of independent artists within the Board of Directors, the organization has opened nominations to all members of Saskatchewan’s thriving arts communities. However, the announcement specifies that the SAB has “a particular interest in those with strong backgrounds in professional literary, media or performing arts”, stating that the successful candidate must have a “substantial track record and proven leadership in the arts in Saskatchewan as a volunteer, artist, educator, businessperson or administrator”.

The Arts Board Act of 1997 states that a third of all board directors must be selected from the pool of community-nominated candidates in question

The SAB website clarifies that a board director is responsible for “the development of policy priorities with an emphasis on providing relevant, accessible, and tailored services to meet the needs of our stakeholders,” and must conduct themselves in accordance with the standards outlined in the Board of Directors Governance manual, which emphasize the importance of ethical behaviour – especially regarding their strict conflict of interest policies – and adherence to the board’s code of conduct. Due to the relatively small size of Saskatchewan’s arts community, conflicts of interest are bound to arise when friends, family members, or other associates apply for grants through the Saskatchewan Arts Board or are otherwise in a position where the approval of the Board of Directors stands to advance either party’s interests.

While the number of available spots has not been disclosed, their website currently boasts eleven members in total, who together hold “a wealth of knowledge and experience in areas such as artistic excellence, entrepreneurship, business, strategic planning, governance and finance.” They also note the “extensive experience serving on other provincial boards of directors in a variety of public benefit sectors” shared by the current board.

All board members must be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and are required to serve a two-year term. Any members who wish to end their service before the two-year term is complete are required to give written notice, complete with an explanation of the reasons a member has for resigning, to both the Minister and Board Chair in advance of their departure.

Surely, there must be a catch to this good news, right? Well, kind of. Members of the Board of Directors may only apply for grants of $20,000 or less, as the distribution of these are decided by a jury, and applicants are advised of their success or denial before the Board of Directors is notified via a report.

Applications are open until March 31, 2020, and an Expression of Interest form is available on the Saskatchewan Arts Board website. For further information about this or other opportunities, the Saskatchewan Arts Board can be contacted via phone call at (306) 787-4056 (Regina) or 1-800-667-7526 (Toll-Free), or by email at nominations@saskartsboard.ca.

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