Regional Fall Symposium


In early 2016, BCTC members from throughout the Province were polled regarding Professional Development needs. Responses indicated the desire to increase capacities for case-making and increased revenues. Respondents also expressed the need for Professional Development Sessions to be held closer to home, possibly in each of BCTC’s geographic Regions, so that more people would have the opportunity to participate. With the support of the Columbia Basin Trust, the BC Arts Council, and the Columbia-Kootenay Cultural Alliance, an impressive turnout of over sixty presenters, arts council representatives, museum and gallery directors, elected officials and others participated in the Symposium in Nelson, September 16 & 17, 2016. The high level of attendance reflected the strong desire for professional development, but also presented a challenge of providing professional development to a range of both artistic disciplines and a range of experience/capacity level.


Building Knowledge, Confidence and Connections:

The Impact of the Arts Symposium succeeded in all respects. Participants indicated that their Knowledge, Confidence and Connections to gather and communicate arts had each gained between 1.5 and 1.7 points (on a seven point scale) in a day and a half period. This was a remarkable result.

Scale: 1 = Not at All; 7 + Highest


Session Rankings:

The overall “Impact of the Arts Symposium” and the workshops on Marketing, Conversing with our Customers and Increasing Revenues were scored very high by participants, with average net recommender scores of ranging from 5.1 to 6.4 on a 7 point scale.


A. In the future, if there was an “Impact of the Arts Symposium” similar this year’s Symposium, how likely are you to recommend it to a colleague or friend? Score = 5.8;

Please describe an experience from the Symposium that was personally meaningful/important to you or your organization? Is there a feeling, a phrase, a metaphor or just a word that describes your experience?

  1. Sharing
  2. The sessions where you talked to another presenter about their personal experiences
  3. Telling stories.
  4. informative and inspirational
  5. Finding ways to increase funding levels to become more sustainable.
  6. The last exercise we did where we were able to have our peers “chime in” on one particular item Connected
  7. Importance of storytelling… re- tweaking our story!
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  9. Unifying
  10. Having so many other arts organizers who I respect telling me what an impact our work is having on them. One word, appreciated.
  11. frustrating
  12. Sharing thoughts, ideas and tips with other participants.
  13. It was valuable to be in the room with so many other arts administrators and practitioners. We need to connect like that more frequently in this region.
  14. Taking the time to realize the impact of our organization and learning how gather feedback and communicate out impact back to our community. The survey we sent out to our community before the symposium was very useful for us.
  15. experience = peace of mind
  16. Sharing experiences in the marketing and social media workshops – so interesting hearing about other people’s success and particularly their failures – I think we can learn from these and it is fun and funny to share!
  17. Discussing with group about how to engage youth. “Powerful”
  18. New Ideas
  19. I felt culturally connected
  20. Somewhat overwhelmed.
  21. Always gives me lots of ideas, I love connecting with other similar types of “Arty” people who are volunteering or who work for Arts Councils or Theatres
  22. I really enjoyed the time jerry took to sit and speak with me even for just 5 mins independently about my specific issue/need. It was really helpful and I felt heard and respected. As well it was just very nice to have an opportunity to speak with other Gallery directors in the same room.
  23. Frankly, I feel that I wasted my time attending. Nothing new was relayed to me by the facilitator, and I really struggled to understand what – if anything – was useful. While I mean no disrespect to the facilitator, I did find his frequent insults about being “Canadian” somewhat tiresome, and demonstrated a real lack of respect for his audience. It was humorous the first time, but by the 5th or 6th instance, it was downright offensive. Is there a feeling, a phrase, a metaphor or just a word that describes your experience? Time wasted.

B. How valuable to you were the Friday morning presentations about ‘Magic of the Columbia Basin: What Impacts have we already achieved?’ Featuring Castlegar, Smithers, Cranbrook, Vernon, Creston, Revelstoke, Nelson, Ymir, Golden and other aspects of the Columbia Basin? Score =5.6;

What was most valuable to you about this session?

  1. Hearing how innovative and successful various organizations are in creating and delivering programming
  2. Hearing about the innovation in so many other Cities.
  3. The need to prove to your public and funders that you are a viable organization.
  4. the wide range of creative activities and programs provided
  5. Sharing what other centres have done.
  6. Learning that starting something small in a small community can have big impact
  7. Because I attended the BC Touring Pacific Contacts in April… I had heard some of these presentations before… and because I live here, I know quite a lot about the CBT… so it wasn’t all that valuable as first time knowledge, but good to review. THANK YOU!
  8. Talk of creating an experience for our communities
  9. I love hearing what my peers are doing and being inspired by other communities
  • Feeling inspired by other people’s passion
  • Tiny Lights!
  • It’s great to heat different snapshots from around the area

C. If you attended “Marketing. Huh! What is it good for?” by John McLachlan, please tell us the likelihood that you would recommend this workshop to a colleague or friend? Score = 6.4

What was most valuable to you about the Marketing workshop?

  1. the stories and examples and john’s engaging manner
  2. Personalized marketing in action.
  3. the power of consistent branding
  4. There were many useful ideas. I really liked the idea to get into the head of your three best costumes and figure out why they attend.
  5. ideas on how to market and make events remarkable
  6. That he has personalized it and that he opened it up to discussion at various points – so relevant!
  7. concise and engaging
  8. Ideas, visuals,
  9. I liked the relatability of John’s approach and how it can be geared to different branches of the arts and promo. I enjoyed that they had a specific talk about Social media and the need to incorporate it in your platform.

D. If you attended “Conversing with your audience and customers’ by Sheryl McGraw, please tell us the likelihood that you would recommend this workshop to a colleague or friend? Score = 6.1

What was most valuable to you about the conversing workshop?

  1. clear and reinforced the importance/influence of Facebook
  2. How we can use social media but that it is not the only thing around…..
  3. understanding the capabilities of marketing with FB & the need to up our game
  4. Coming up with a social media plan:)
  5. nice reminder of setting Facebook goals and using more engaging features – live and polls
  6. It was too short but really practical – I liked the input of the group – could have done with more.
  7. She got through a lot in a very short time – I feel this area could be expanded as it is the future of marketing or should I say, besides word of mouth I feel it is the best exposure we can get. The marketing, messaging and social media delivery would be a great combo too.
  8. I enjoyed that they had a specific talk about Social media and the need to incorporate it in your platform. I felt that a follow up training (post sign up) for very basic Social Media would have been very appropriate.

E. If you attended “Increasing Revenues – Sell More Tickets + Raise More Money” by Jerry Yoshitomi, please tell us the likelihood that you would recommend this workshop to a colleague or friend? Score = 6.2
What was most valuable to you about the Increasing Revenues workshop?

  1. The need to collect stories and images from the experiences you have offered.
  2. Ideas to motivate potential sponsors to donate.
  3. Highlight volunteers and ‘test drive event’….
  4. Ways of looking at the problem from another angle…
  5. Business advice and stepping back to look at the non-profit world with marketing eyes
  6. It was useful but a little long winded and felt like it was pitched ‘above our heads’ at bigger wealthier organizations, not small Arts Council’s with very limited budgets.
  7. Learning HOW to ask.
  8. The knowledge that we are not necessarily failing if someone says no.

F. If you participated in the Small Group Discussions after lunch on Saturday on Topics of Your Own Choosing? Please tell us how valuable they were to you. Score = 5.1

What was most valuable to you about the Small Group Discussion session?

  1. The meaningful nature of the topics meant that you could see others are faced with similar issues to us and we were able to discuss these and find some solutions.
  2. Finding out we share many of the same issues and can support each other.
  3. Sharing ideas about involving youth in the arts.
  4. Rebranding and sponsorships
  5. Although I see the value in a connecting/networking opportunity, we often seem to be having the same conversations with the same people – would have preferred to receive expert information on new innovations in the sector, more best practices/models “from away” or practical tools we can easily implement/model/adapt instead of a session like this.
  6. The discussion on burnout

G. Do you have any other comments or questions?

  1. It was a worthwhile symposium with useful ideas for promoting and enhancing the arts in the community.
  2. It was a good 2 days… full of interest and possibilities. Good to review some stuff already thought about… excellent!
  3. overall, it was both exhausting and invigorating which I think means you did your job well
  4. Wish I’d been able to attend both days.
  5. Keep up the great work!

Nelson Symposium: Program Information

Detailed Schedule:

Symposium Sponsors
In partnership with the BC Arts Council, Columbia Basin Trust and Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance