Two Groups Consider Merging Under BAAC

Debate continues in an ongoing discussion of integration plans for a troubled Bloomington arts organization.

Waldron Art

Photo: Ben Skirvin

The Bloomington Area Arts Council has liquidated almost all of its assets including the Waldron Arts Center.

Debate continues in an ongoing discussion of integration plans for a troubled Bloomington arts organization.  Two separate entities, both identified as the Bloomington Area Arts Council or BAAC, met Tuesday night to discuss a proposal which would unify the two groups under a single banner.  One organization is currently listed on the BAAC’s tax exempt paperwork, is the previous operator of the Waldron Arts Center, and draws a small stipend of about $7,800 a year from an endowment of $250,000 held by the Community Foundation.  The other is a group of concerned citizens seeking to take over administration of the name, the tax exemption, and funds from the current board of trustees.

Jim Whitlach is the outgoing president of the BAAC as it now stands.  He says his organization is going to need to see more concrete organization and planning from his counterparts across the table if the merger is to move forward…

“I think we want to see an organization that has strong leadership and a plan for moving forward and what their plan is for moving forward.”

A major roadblock in the effort to combine the two groups is the usage of the $7,800 stipend.

Current board members argue that money has always been applied directly to supporting artist… and under no circumstances should it be put towards sustaining the BAAC’s approximately $1,000 a month operating cost.

Dino Klein is a member of the group seeking to take over management of the arts council.  He says the funds should be used to float the organization until other revenues become available.

“There’s a little bit of a ramp up period while we’re getting fundraisers to come in, while we’re getting grants that are being written to come in.”

The two groups plan to meet again on the 19th to continue discussions.

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