After 30 years Station House Gallery director and president for about 20 years, Bev Pemberton is stepping down.
She will officially resign at the society’s annual general meeting Wednesday, Nov. 16.
“It’s time,” Pemberton says. “I would actually like a year off from all the organizations and committees I am on, but I will stay on as the gallery’s past president to help with the transition.
Pemberton, one of the lakecity’s noted professional potters, says she wasn’t part of the society that established the gallery in 1981 but was recruited to the board as secretary in 1983 by lakecity potter Dru Hodgson,when the founding society officially became the Station House Studio & Gallery Society.
“Dru Hodgson was the one who talked me into coming on the board,” Pemberton says. “I’ve just really enjoyed being part of the Station House for all these years.”
In the early years, Pemberton says she brought her little boy Kyle to the meetings.
“We still have friendly meetings but they are a bit more formal than that now,” Pemberton says.
The board includes the president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary and about six directors who meet once a month to oversee financial operations, set policy and pitch in to fundraise and keep the gallery running smoothly.
Anyone can become a gallery society member. The annual fee is $20 for a single or $25 for a family and entitles members to meet the artists at show openings which are by invitation, receive newsletters and member specials, and be a participant and supporter of the regional arts and culture scene.
Gallery manager Diane Toop says she will be sad to see Pemberton go. “While we can’t imagine what it will be like to not have Bev as our president, we certainly acknowledge that she has gone beyond what is usually expected of a director and the society has been the recipient of her great generosity,” Toop says. “Not only has Bev been with the gallery all these years, she has also been active with the Williams Lake Community Arts Council and other committees. Bev is one of our community’s best supporters.”
The gallery has suffered financial hardship over the past few years due to cuts in government gaming funds and increasing maintenance and general operating expenses.
“We are holding our own for now,” Pemberton says. “Fundraisers have helped and we are very frugal with our money. We did get some gaming money — enough to continue our children’s art classes and guided gallery tours.” She says part of cutting back means they don’t have a gallery co-ordinator. That role is temporarily taken care of by director Kathryn Steen and Toop.
“We have always had a great group of volunteers who come in each month to hang the shows. Some of them have been doing it for years, they have it down to a fine art,” Pemberton says.
Leah Selk, the previous gallery co-ordinator, has moved on to be the Central Cariboo Art Society co-ordinator but Pemberton says Selk still helps with media marketing.
he gallery has one paid full-time staff person, Toop, and was able to hire a summer student with federal grant money.
Volunteers provide lunch relief for Toop and they have some great people who work in the gallery on Saturdays.
Some of the work done by Pemberton this year has been to make presentations at forums encouraging the restoration of provincial gaming funds to arts organizations in the province.
The society receives a fee for service grant of $4,500 from the City each year and now applies for funding from the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Function as well. Pemberton says having a vibrant arts community is part of what people look for when they chose a community in which to live. The Station House provides exhibition space for artists, space for art workshops with visiting and local artists, children’s summer and after school art classes, guided art tours of the exhibitions for schools and other groups. The gallery is currently working on an outreach program in the school district which they hope will begin in the new year.
Pemberton is disappointed the City didn’t receive a grant to have the Station House moved to a more visible location in the city but believes that project is still the best solution to the society’s mandate, which is to preserve the building and offer a space for artists to promote and sell their work.
The annual meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at noon in the gallery, will include staff reports, financial statements and elections. People interested in serving on the board can call Pemberton at 250-392-5104 or Toop at 250-392-6113 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
“I’ve enjoyed my time with the Station House Gallery, we’ve had a lot of fun over the years, met some great artists, brought some exciting, thought provoking and beautiful shows — it’s been a great experience for me.”
The gallery will be closed from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the annual general meeting.