Friday, April 28, 2006
Business and the Arts Case Study #5
Station Arts Centre and the Saskatchewan Valley News
The Station Arts Centre in Rosthern is an award-winning renovated CN station that has been converted into an art gallery, seminar space, Tea Room, and Performing Arts Theatre. It provides visitors with a unique cultural experience, a peek into the past, and good food while there. The Centre presents an annual summer theatre to sold-out audiences. It presents approximately 8 to 10 concerts per year, and about 8 to 10 exhibitions each year. The Centre also hosts a number of special events annually.
The Saskatchewan Valley News, based in Rosthern, is a weekly newspaper distributed to approximately 3100 residents in the region. The Station Arts Centre advertises in the Sask Valley News and has all of their printing done there, and the Sask Valley News prints an article about the Station Arts Centre each week.
The newspaper has long been a supporter of the Station Arts Centre. It covered the opening of the Centre in 1990 and from that time wrote articles about the Station Arts’ programming. (The Station Arts Centre always extended invitations to Valley News reporters to come to a show or exhibition, but reporters were not always able to attend). Then in 1995 things changed. Rod Andrews, a reporter with the paper, was invited to see both a show and the facility. He was invited to subsequent shows which he continued to frequent and he became very impressed with the programming. This led to the weekly articles about the Centre that Sask Valley News prints today.
Rod knows writing articles is his job and he is interested in the arts, but he also believes in community spirit and wants to keep the Station Arts Centre visible in the broader community, and so people know what’s in their own backyards. Rod covers every exhibition put on by the Centre, and he comes into the facility every Tuesday morning to learn what is happening that week. Rod’s interest in the Station Arts Centre resulted in some important spin-offs as well, as other members of the paper support the Stations Arts Centre in practical ways.
Sask. Valley News Editor, Connie Norquist, volunteered on a committee to help the facility with their advertising. Connie ensures that ads are placed throughout the province with her colleagues. She sets the advertising schedule and manages the budget approved by the board. Another Sask Valley News staff person, Lisa Crowe, regularly volunteers to photocopy all of the reviews and articles on Station Arts programming, which are given to actors and directors, and are maintained in the Centre’s archives. On occasion, Lisa reviews a show as well. A Sask Valley News graphic designer, Renay Kowalchuk, volunteers her time to produce all of the graphics for the Centre’s advertising.
The Station Arts Centre maintains this relationship by inviting Sask Valley News staff to events and providing them with a newsletter. Complimentary tickets for performing arts events are provided if the show is not sold out. The newspaper and other sponsors and the Centre’s volunteers are always publicly acknowledged at each event, and in the Station Arts newsletter. Parties have also been held in the past to recognize business and volunteer support.
The Station Arts Centre feels it has enjoyed this support because it has maintained a rapport with business and their volunteers and feels it is important for organizations to go out of their way to maintain relationships with business. The Station Arts Centre knows that Sask. Valley News’ coverage of their programs has broadened their exposure province-wide, which in turn has generated more coverage with other media.
This article conveys that relationship building with business is a two-way street – a principle outlined in the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance report “Business & the Arts: Service Relationship Indicators”. It also shows how developing a relationship can result in other benefits. For a copy of this report, please contact the SAA at (306) 780-9820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.