Mar 04, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia had a banner year in membership, visitation and exhibits in 2012 and expects to continue the momentum into 2013, according to the SQHAP board of directors, which held its annual meeting on Feb. 26.
Members of the board, as well as the park director, gave individual presentations on the state of the park in 2012 and the plans for 2013, and the board also released its 2012 annual report.
“Our membership is at an all-time high — over 400 members,” SQHAP President John Hunt said to loud applause at the opening of the annual meeting.
Park events also drew more than 15,000 people in 2012, said SQHAP Director Sarah Webster. “It was a great year and we’re looking forward to an even better year this year,” she said.
The Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, located two miles east of Cazenovia off Route 20, at 3883 Stone Quarry Road, is 104 acres of open space dotted with sculptures as well as an indoor art studio and the historic Hilltop House. The park offers public programs, opportunities for new artists and a signature collection of artwork and sculpture for public viewing.
In a review of the “significant highlights” of 2012, Webster said membership increased from 223 to 408 — nearly 50 percent — during 2012, including 85 new members and numerous returning members who have been absent from the rolls since 2005.
“Our goal this year is to maintain that number, but there may also be opportunities to do better,” she said.
Webster celebrated the park’s ranking by National Geographic as No. 2 of the top 10 sculpture parks and trails in the U.S.; said the 2012 exhibit of oil and watercolor landscapes by George Van Hook attracted 1,100 visitors; and reported that the park selected four artists-in-residence with two alternates last year, from which two new sculptures were added to the park grounds.
She also announced that the park is currently working to present to the village and town boards an economic impact report of 17 cultural non-profit organizations in Cazenovia, which shows the organizations have produced 220 full-time-equivalent jobs and $460,000 in revenue to the local area. The report and presentation will be used to seek support and assistance to grow these organizations even more in the future, Webster said.
The SQHAP also has multiple goals relating to budget, membership, park development, fundraising, events and exhibitions and public outreach, said Vice President Anne Beckwith Ferguson.
She echoed Webster’s sentiment that one major goal of 2013 is to maintain the high level of park membership and seek to increase it. This will be done with improved public outreach (with a better website, a quarterly newsletter, increased awareness with the public as well as cultural and governmental institutions and new and exciting events and exhibits) and an expansion of the “corporate calling effort” and implementation of a business membership, she said.
Ferguson said the board hopes to undertake a feasibility analysis for renovating the historic Hilltop House in the park and converting the garage into an office. The board also has applied to the government for the house to be included in the Federal Register of Historic Places, although the decision would take at least a year, she said.
Financially, the board hopes to increase the park’s net income by 20 percent, or $120,000 of its gross income, Ferguson said.
“Those are some ambitious goals for 2013,” she said. “We’ll track them quarterly and hope to achieve most of them.”
Financially in 2012, SQHAP Treasurer Patty Radell said the art park “continues to struggle just like many other not-for-profits,” and the park’s revenues fall about $25,000 short of its annual $150,000 budget. She said the finance committee is working on a 5-to-10-year plan to make the park not only sustaining but self-sustaining, and this necessitates the development of good programs that will generate more income, applying for more state and federal grants and continued high membership numbers.
Board member David Rudd said in addition to the annual programs of the Cazenovia High School art exhibit, YMCA kids camps and others, in 2013 the art park will host a June exhibit of the work of artist Bill Benson, and is planning a music festival “major fundraiser” on Sept. 7 in the park’s amphitheater. They have already booked four musical acts and are working with a local promoter to help sell the event, he said.
Every speaker also commented on the importance of park volunteers, and the need to maintain and also grow the number of volunteers.
“The art park could not exist without volunteers,” Webster said.
Rudd said the board is looking for volunteers to sit on all of its various planning committees to help implement the goals for 2013, while Hunt encouraged all in attendance at the meeting to encourage their family members, friends and neighbors to get involved and volunteer at the park.
“It’s important that we have community support,” he said. “We have 408 members; we’d like to have 408 volunteers.”
For more information about the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, visit stonequarryhillartpark.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor @cazenoviarepublican.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.