The Art Alliance of Idyllwild has a new board, new officers and is, once again, fully operational.
At a Saturday, May 16 public meeting, the new board met to introduce itself to the community, to elect officers and to resume work, including staging of public events, halted by the mass resignation of the previous board on April 15.
Pledging to provide financial transparency to and greater consultation with the membership and community, the new board got quickly to work — both in open public and closed executive sessions.
Adrian Adams, legal counsel for the previous board, had acted during the month-long hiatus as pro-bono AAI director and administrator charged with conducting the election for the new board. Adams also served as trustee for AAI assets turned over to him by the previous board. Adams set the agenda and conducted the meeting until new directors selected their officers. Once new officers were elected, Adams resigned as interim director and turned the meeting over to newly elected AAI President Shanna Robb.
In addition to Robb as president, the 10-member board elected Byron Ely as vice president, collaboration; Erin O’Neill as vice president, membership; Del Marcussen as treasurer; and Veda Roubideaux as secretary. Prior to the meeting, elected director Barry Zander had submitted his resignation, citing his belief he could be more helpful to AAI working in conjunction with and showing support for the board rather than serving on it. “I support the new board and will help it achieve its objectives,” said Zander.
In addition to the five officers, the other board members are Gerry High, Darcy Gerdes, Terryann Halloran, Peter Szabadi and Cate. Neither Szabadi nor Cate attended the meeting, citing travel commitments.
In open session, the board moved quickly to resume AAI community events, pending review of board financial documents and available resources. It voted to provisionally green-light combining two events halted by the hiatus — the Plein Air Festival and Sizzling Summer Gallery Tour, targeting the weekend of June 12 to 14 for the combined event. Said O’Neill, “The reason for putting this vote on the May 16 agenda versus waiting until a follow-up meeting is that the proposed June date is less than a month off.”
Board approval is conditioned upon having sufficient resources to stage the June event, given the new board had not yet reviewed financial documents it had just received from Adams.
Although Adams turned over documents and assets on Saturday given to him by the previous board, he did not specifically inventory those documents, nor did he verify the bank account balances the incoming board inherited. Robb commented, “As for the assets, since there was no accompanying inventory signoff provided when we took possession, the newly elected board are taking a team approach in documenting what was received.”
In answer to an email query regarding transfer of assets, Adams said, “There were boxes of materials, a laptop computer, two forms of electronic backup of records, bank accounts, websites, email accounts and a large mini-storage [locker] of materials turned over to me to hold for the incoming board. Once I had possession, I had locks changed on the mini-storage and P.O. Box, passwords changed on the website, Facebook and Gmail accounts, and control of the bank accounts shifted to me. Everything was frozen in place awaiting the new board, with my firm absorbing all the costs.
“Once the new board was seated on Saturday, all passwords, keys and assets were delivered to them, including full electronic back-ups made by my office for  thumb drives that were then given to each of the new directors … I could have hired someone to make a detailed inventory, but it is a better use of Alliance funds for the new board to catalog everything.”
The board also voted to authorize all five officers to sign AAI checks, and require any check over $500 to have two authorized signatures.
In introducing themselves, new directors stressed the board’s commitment to financial transparency, prompt posting of meeting minutes, monthly posting of AAI finances, and greater consultation with AAI membership and the community. As evidence of that, one vice presidency, that of Ely, is dedicated to community collaboration. Said Ely, “We want our process to be inclusive, to work with all artist groups and businesses to restart events, so that we regain momentum, pick up lost pieces and move forward to solutions.”
Said Robb, “The involvement of the membership and our community supporters will be key in restructuring the AAI. The board believes that the more informed and involved our members become in the delivery of events and programs, the more likely the entire community will benefit. That means collaboration with our members, our media and our community. I look forward to bringing that attitude.”
Adams stated that while serving as interim director he had filed all required documents with the California Secretary of State, reviewed the existing AAI bylaws and compiled a list of amendments he believed needed to be made.
Gerdes volunteered to head a committee to oversee bylaw revision. Adams’ suggestions included: reduce number of directors from 11 to five or seven (an odd number), stagger terms, institute term limits, establish annual elections and protocols for conducting them, create qualifications for directors, establish a process for their removal for cause, add a provision for filling director vacancies and “add a number of procedural provisions for how boards should function.”
For more information about the AAI, see www.artinidyllwild.org.