"NEA began four years ago as an idea; to support the arts in Benalla and surrounding areas. This idea was to take the form of a pop-up shop which opened its doors in the three weeks prior to Christmas 2014, to provide an opportunity for local artists to sell their work in that pre-Christmas period. In the four years since then, NEA continues to exist and even flourish. It has by now established its credentials and has become part of the art landscape of the North East.
In those four years there have been many changes, amongst the most significant being, a move to new premises, and an increase in member numbers. Since most of the original management committee have stepped down or moved on, this has meant that many of the people whose “idea” got NEA off the ground in the first place are no longer involved in carrying it forward.
For the current management team, this in itself has presented challenges, around finding the best way forward as well as dealing with the various opportunities and the often-accompanying difficulties in taking advantage of them. During the past year we have had a number of members of the executive step down for a variety of reasons, all of them valid. A factor which has become evident is the reality of “burnout” as people find themselves snowed under by the workload of keeping what has become a rather large though friendly beast, running on an even keel.
Into the future if NEA is to survive it will require more involvement by more of its members in order to spread the load. A strong executive will be necessary, as will a paid manager.
I would like to thank everyone who contributed, in whatever way, to the running of NEA in the past year. people who have supported us by their encouragement and appreciation of what we do, have helped make art and creativity an important part of the richness and variety that is life in the North east.
Thanking individuals in a situation like this would inevitably lead to omissions. However, one person I would like to thank personally is Meralyn Vincent. Meralyn took on the role of treasurer during the year in spite of failing health, acquitting it with diligence, competence and a wicked sense of humour. She finally handed in the books only a couple of weeks ago when she no longer had the strength to continue. Meralyn is currently in hospital. Thank you for your contribution Meralyn your beautiful smile and your courage.
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