The East End Arts Council is revamping its image just in time for its 40th anniversary, partly because of concerns that its mission may not be clear to outsiders.
The organization is also facing an 18 percent decline in funding, $135,000, in this fiscal year, due primarily to the decline in grants from government entities, said arts council treasurer Barry Barth during the group’s annual meeting Tuesday night. Its new fiscal year begins Sept. 1.
The council provides music and art education for young people at its East Main Street, Riverhead, location. It also sponsors art events throughout the year and is responsible for the increasingly popular “Winterfest” program that brings jazz music to wineries and hotels each winter.
Arts Council Executive Director Pat Snyder unveiled a new logo for the organization at Tuesday’s meeting. The group’s former logo was an image of four squares on top of one another, bearing the letters E, E, A and C. The new logo, designed by Pat Hauck, is a stylized swirl that Ms. Snyder said had been interpreted by those who have seen it as a wave, a dancer twirling, or an ear, with the words “East End Arts” on the right side.
Ms. Snyder said that the council will also be changing its corporate name to “East End Arts” to help make it seem more inclusive of people who are not used to being members of councils.
“The old logo reflected the organization 10 years ago. Not so much anymore,” said Ms. Snyder. “It doesn’t speak for who we are. This new design speaks to who we are.”
Ms. Snyder added that when she met with bank managers seeking funding, they seemed puzzled about the organization’s mission. She hopes the re-branding will help alleviate some of that confusion.
Mr. Barth said that about a dozen private individuals and businesses have stepped up in the past year to help see the Arts Council through its financial woes, enabling the organization to stay current with its payroll of nine employees.
“This year has been extremely difficult,” he said, adding that staff members had agreed to pay cuts and membership dues were up $1,400, but fund-raising and grants are down significantly.
“As we celebrate the 40th anniversary, we need each one of us to carry the banner for the arts council,” he said.
The group is in the process putting together a year’s worth of events for the anniversary celebration, starting with a dinner at Dark Horse Restaurant in Riverhead Sept. 24 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of its Harvest Gospel Concert. The evening will include a screening of “Rejoice and Shout,” a documentary about gospel music compiled by Shelter Island producer Joe Lauro, who will speak at the event.
The council is also planning a birthday party in January, though a date has not yet been set.
“It’s going to be a really big party,” said Ms. Snyder. “It’ll be really fun to do something in the middle of winter.”
Wally Smith, interim arts council president, reported that former state Assemblyman Marc Alessi will be joining the board for the next year. Mr. Alessi, who lost last year’s election, is now working as an attorney in private practice.
“He was amazingly supportive of us throughout his term. I’ve admired him for a long time,” said Mr. Smith.
The group also honored two of its volunteers, Terri and Pete Lang, for giving a large amount of time and effort to the organization for the past year, including helping to redecorate the gallery and bringing food for openings and other events.
Longtime board member Thelma Booker stepped down at Tuesday’s meeting, creating the vacancy that Mr. Alessi will fill.
“When I asked her why she was leaving, she said “I’m tired,”’ said Mr. Smith. “It’s hard to argue with that.”