This post continues our series featuring each of the current members of the Arts Council’s board. We thought you’d like to get to know a few things about the people who help direct the organization, support its mission, and work to secure its future. Ours is a volunteer board of leaders from the community who are selected for their essential skill sets and personal commitment to the arts.
Danielle Kulnis, a banker by profession, is the newly elected vice president of the Arts Council board. Although she considers herself more an arts patron than an artist, there was a time when she wrote poetry and considered the possibility of pursuing a writing career.
She first became involved with the Arts Council in 2009 as a member of the Arts in Education Committee, became co-chair of the Membership Committee, and then secretary of the board.
She joined the LVAC board because she wanted to further assist the organization in its mission and better understand the various ways in which it supports artists and patrons in the community.
Danielle, what attracted you to the organization at first? Why have you continued to support it?
The advocacy of arts in the education system is what drew me to the LVAC initially. Being a parent of an elementary school student, it was important to me that the arts remain an integral part of my daughter’s experience in the classroom. I was impressed with the different programs that LVAC coordinates and administers in area schools, including artist residencies and the Urban/Suburban program.
What are the impacts made by the Arts Council that are the most significant to you? Why? What more could be done?
The biggest contribution that LVAC makes is its continuous, tireless advocacy and promotion of the arts. The Council seeks to keep the arts top of mind through its programming, so that the significance and impact of the arts in the economy, the community, and the classroom are not forgotten.
What are the biggest challenges that you see facing the arts in the Lehigh Valley?
The single greatest current challenge is a financial one, as area organizations struggle to continue to serve the community while the revenue sources they have traditionally relied upon dry up.
How is the Arts Council and its board positioned to help meet those challenges?
LVAC recognizes this challenge and has hosted a number of events designed to encourage and inspire organizations to become more entrepreneurial, so that their revenue is less reliant upon unearned income. Being resourceful and innovative in this respect will give nonprofits greater control of their fate and strengthen their community connections, as they look to attract new audiences and members. These events have included the Economic Impact Study and cooperative arts marketing initiatives and others.
What would you like to see happen in the next 3 years to ensure that the arts and the arts community remain viable/strong?
More collaborative endeavors amongst organizations are critical to ensure that we continue to have a diversity of cultural offerings when the economic tides turn. And this can be done in such a way that consolidation is not necessary, so that organizations can retain their individual identities while reaching a broader audience. Again, that will require “doing business” differently.