ELAN will be 14 this year. Arts organizations are similar in many ways to human beings; in their infant stage, extremely high maintenance, giving little back in return. During ELAN’s first couple of years, it was difficult to give away free membership. People would ask: Why would I join ELAN? What do I get? The short answer was: Not much. Services cost money and it is difficult for a service organization to obtain funding if it has no members. Fortunately, many artists and cultural workers grasped the idea of what ELAN could become and gave us their moral support.
Canada Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage were willing to risk giving ELAN some financial support, which enabled steady progression from baby-steps to confident strides to an impressive series of leaps. During the past year ELAN has come of age, diversifying our funding sources, multiplying the projects and services we can offer, and doubling our staff with the addition last November of Naima Phillips and Sufia Duez.
Now when people ask – Why would I join ELAN? What do I get? – we have some good answers, but the past is only a prologue. New resources empower us to plan services and programs never before possible, which will be of value to ELAN’s members. New resources enable us to reach out to artists and cultural workers who have never heard of ELAN.
We have many ideas about where ELAN can go in 2018 and beyond, and interesting activities planned for the coming year. Reading our newsletters and following us on social media are great ways to learn more about our exciting developments. I hope that many of you will join us in this coming-of-age re-visioning process.