Yuma Fine Arts Association selects new board members
There were lots of smiles after a meeting Tuesday evening of the membership of the Yuma Fine Arts Association resulted in the election of a new board of directors.
Thirteen people were elected, joining two incumbent board members who remained after a mass resignation of the former board that brought the organization to a standstill.
“This is wonderful,” Merilyn Chilleen, one of the incumbent directors, said following the meeting attended by approximately 50 members of the Yuma Fine Arts Association.
“A very satisfying meeting,” she said with a broad smile. “It looks like a wonderful slate of people who want Yuma Fine Arts to move forward. There's such a hunger for the arts here and so many wonderful artists.”
The next step will be an informal meeting on Dec. 5 to select new officers, Chilleen said. That will be followed by the board's next official meeting on Dec. 12 when it will get down to the business of reorganizing the association, including adopting bylaws and figuring out the future direction of Yuma Fine Arts.
That future is going to be “a new day” with exciting things to come, predicted Isaac Russell, a Yuma Fine Arts member and chairman of the city's Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission, which has been assisting the organization.
“Yuma Fine Arts righted itself tonight,” Russell said. “It was a great turnout and very orderly.”
And his concerns that the meeting would deteriorate into a discussion about the issues that led the previous board to resign never materialized.
“I couldn't be happier with the new board,” he said. “The best thing ... they all stepped forward and volunteered, saying the arts are important to the community. It's better and more engaging than Yuma Fine Arts has been in a long time.”
Another good thing, he said, is that all the new board members who were at the meeting immediately gathered to plan how to get things moving forward.
“We have a 50th anniversary to celebrate and exhibits to hang,” Russell said.
Yuma Fine Arts, a 50-year-old organization, books and installs art shows at the Yuma Art Center and puts on a variety of fundraisers, such as the Taste of Fine Arts.
The new board joins Chilleen and fellow incumbent Larry Yanez.
Ann Walker, who chaired Tuesday's meeting, noted that the city prepared a list of 11 nominees from applications it accepted and vetted. The goal was to present a balanced slate based on diversity of age and gender, interest in the arts, balance of expertise and experience in the arts, business, finance, personnel and marketing, and finally community involvement.
All 11 were elected. They include:
• Mary Jane Chambers, a retired public relations executive with a longtime interest in the arts.
• John Dallabetta, a retired music teacher and band director and a Tribute to the Muses winner.
• Colby Girard, a musician and owner of Catamaran Media.
• Pat Golding, a retired nurse and practising artist.
• Diane Hatch, an art teacher, artist and advocate.
• Lia Littlewood, an artist and arts advocate.
• Matt Molenar, owner of MGM Design and a member of many local organizations.
• Andrew C. Phelen III, Western Arizona Council of Governments finance director.
• Catherine Rone, an artist and owner of Hellcat Metalworks.
• Renee Smith, a photographer and employee of Arizona Western College and Yuma Union High School District.
• David Woodward, a photographer with Chasing Time Studio.
Additional nominations were taken from the floor. Those winning nominees include:
• Rick Ploski, who has a background in entertainment and now owns Colorado River Behavioral Health Systems.
• Paul Heebink, a musician who has a degree in communication and is general manager of KECY.