Jonas Foundation Reports on Progress at Annual Meeting
The O.N. Jonas Foundation is approaching its 50th year of bringing the arts into local schools. At its recent annual meeting, President Susan Reams thanked the Dalton, Murray and Whitfield school systems and the Creative Arts Guild for partnering with the foundation to bring approximately 315 arts performances to 42 schools each year. Reams expressed appreciation for the generous financial support of many individuals and businesses in the community that enable the foundation to continue its commitment of “bringing art into children’s lives” for approximately 25,000 children each year.
Creative Arts Guild Director Amanda Brown reported that the Guild is increasing its in-kind support to the Jonas Foundation. The Guild’s assistance with accounting work, publicity and programming for Jonas artists is essential to the foundation. Savannah Thomas, Creative Arts Guild gallery manager, was thanked for beautifully staging Peggy Jonas’ artwork for the Guild’s First Friday Exhibit last fall titled “From Eton to Africa: The Artistic Journey of Peggy Jonas.” Brown also informed board members of a joint effort by the Creative Arts Guild and the Jonas Foundation to form Collaborative Connections, a fall art conference for art, choral and instrumental music teachers in the three school systems.
Jonas Foundation Executive Director Renee Rector gave her financial report on the 2016-17 art programs. She introduced representatives from each school system who presented reports on the art residencies that were held in their schools this past year. Representatives were Toby Westmoreland, Murray County Schools; Karey Williams, Whitfield County Schools; Lisa Hackney, Dalton Public Schools; Debbie Cook, NorthStar; and Richard Nelson, Elbert Shaw Regional Youth Detention Center.
In addition to the Jonas art programs provided to the schools, Ellen Thompson reported that the Jonas Foundation has been administering Seretean grants in memory of founding Jonas board member Bud Seretean to one school from each of the school systems for the past six years. Recipients submit proposals that are screened and selected by an impartial panel of judges. Grant recipients for this past year presented PowerPoint presentations of their projects. Kay Dean, Park Creek Elementary art teacher, described “STEAMing Up the Art Room” in which students created ceramics using science and math skills. Coker Elementary’s Adrien Stone shared video production techniques of the “Good Morning, Coker” show that gave students the opportunity to develop their broadcasting skills. Dawnville Elementary’s Robin Gordon demonstrated Wassily Kandinsky’s theories of colors and shapes in a permanent display of 500 students’ artwork.
Jonas board officers for the 2017-18 year include President Susan Reams, Vice President Marcie Jonas-Mann, Secretary Ellen Thompson and Treasurer Bill Weaver. Marcie Jonas-Mann extended her appreciation to four people who are retiring from the board: Lynda Forthman, Jane Snipes, Stephanie Whisenant and Beverly Wright. The following people agreed to serve another three-year term on the board: Greg Bailey, Judy Gilreath and Sarah Jonas. Lori McDaniel and Kristi Sitton were recognized as new board members.
The minutes of last year’s meeting were approved as read. In his treasurer’s report, Weaver noted the foundation had a successful fundraising campaign this year. This success will enable the foundation to increase the number of art performances in schools next year. Rector presented the artist proposals for 2017-18 to board members.
Board members of the Jonas Foundation for 2017-18 are Greg Bailey, Erica Bronson, Amanda Brown, Amy Cole, Dale Cruse, Kay-Lynne Davies, Judy Gilreath, James Hawkins, Sarah Jonas, Marcie Jonas-Mann, Lori McDaniel, Eric McFee, Bobbie Medlin, Susan Reams, Tracee Reynolds, Kristi Sitton, Ellen Thompson and Bill Weaver. John Shaheen, trustee emeritus, is still actively involved with the Jonas Foundation.