A Look At A Participatocracy
by Kirby Lindsay
Toward the end of the January Fremont Arts Council (FAC) committee of the whole (COW) meeting, member Sonia Telesco remarked about once hearing the organization described as a “participa-tocracy.” Run on a consensus model and open to anyone (regardless of membership status), COW meetings definitely adapt to (or get hijacked by) attendees. When the facilitator, in this case Board Member Gyan Davies, presented a fully formed agenda – with times already allocated for each presentation/discussion – it certainly won’t maunder about like a lost calf, or stampede away, but this herd will still only go where it wishes to be led.
Perhaps my favorite time of each COW comes at the start with the 1-Minute Announcements. No restrictions have yet been mentioned in my hearing to the topic of an announcement, only that its length not exceed, well, one minute.
Moisture Festival organizers have requested FAC assistance in choosing a King and Queen of Fools to preside over their April 1st show at Hale’s Palladium. Ricky Gene Powell announced tryouts for “Full Royal Flush…nothing but Kings and Queens!” This gender-bending revue will take the stage at Little Red Studio on Wednesday, March 31. Other entertainment announcements included a performance by Klezterbalm at Blue Moon Tavern on Sunday, January 24, at 8p.m., as well as the Big Bully Comedy Show at Tost Lounge, on the same date and time. Dates for the Seattle Jewish Film Festival were announced for March 13 – 21.
The FAC rents its playhouse – The Powerhouse – from B.F. Day Elementary School (and the Seattle School District) and always welcomes way they can support the students and school staff. Before the Fremont First Friday Art Walk on February 5, B.F. Day invites anyone interested in the school to join them for a Family Dinner and Open House. Additionally, a series of three workshops have been scheduled for this spring, and artists/teachers are needed. They’ve asked for classes on comic strip creation, bead work, woodworking, double Dutch jump rope, cupcake decorating, juggling, martial arts skills, etc. For information, contact the B.F. Day office at 206/252-6010.
On To the Meat (or Tofu) Of the Matter
Besides announcements that reflect the diverse interests of participants, more than a coherent advance of the mission of the organization, participatocracy can evidenced by the variety in actual FAC business.
Meeting participants discussed a Valentine-making workshop, set for February 12 & 13. Everyone agreed that last year’s workshop entertained all attendees, most surprising was testimonial by FAC President Jerry Smith. His teen-aged daughter has shown a reluctance towards Dad’s activities with the FAC, but after she entered this workshop, “I couldn’t get her out of the room.” he said.
Eli Bowen brought up the idea of a late winter/early spring event, perhaps a fundraiser, since no one has so far planned a Mardi Gras event. The idea of an auction developed, set tentatively for Friday, March 5, and a list of volunteers willing to serve on a planning committee.
Kimberly Scrivner and Steve Harris presented information to the COW on clean-up of the greenbelt around the Troll sculpture – an area now called the Troll’s Knoll. Their group, the Friends of the Troll’s Knoll, won a City of Seattle Small & Simple Grant to organize clean-up, and they now will apply for Seattle Parks Levy funds. A liaison, Board Member Michael Clark, will keep the FAC informed on the project, especially as it concerns the Troll sculpture.
Many more matters of concern to the FAC came up than can be documented here, but all can be seen in the official minutes as posted on the FAC Yahoo e-group. One truly official matter, confirmation of new FAC Treasurer, Sue Duvall, went off with a swell of applause for her volunteering. Additionally, Bowen requested a volunteer to step forward to serve as Secretary…a great way to get involved without having to have a drop of artistic ability.
To learn about a participatocracy, and judge for yourself if the FAC has created one, would be to observe firsthand the next FAC COW meeting on February 9. Open-to-the-public, these meeting take place in The Powerhouse (3940 Fremont Avenue N) on the second Tuesday of every month at 7:10 p.m. sharp!
- The Highlight Reel: Fremont Arts Council September COW meeting
- by Kirby Lindsay, Sep 14, 2009
- FNC Highlights: Feedback on Parking, Zoning and a Knoll for a Troll
- by Kirby Lindsay, Nov 4, 2009
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.