ADFAS Pokolbin Chairmans report 2022 “TALKING ARTS” Twenty twenty-two, post Covid has been a year of challenge, when we have tried to restore our meetings and continue to bring people together with the enjoyment of the arts as an interest in common.
If the arts are a looking glass into life, we covered quite a lot in the year. Often, we remind our guests of things they know and maybe expand their appreciation or open new horizons. Sometimes the topic can be far more interesting than expected, helped along by the quality and enthusiasm of our presenters.
We started with a short history of glass, moved on to hear about the transformation of the Art Gallery of NSW which has just opened this week.
Vincent was our next subject followed by Sydney Noland’s Search for Paradise. We moved on to the Seven Wonders of the World then an expose of Art Deco in Sydney and a Tale of two Russian cities then to finish with Turner and a live demonstration of his artistic style. An important aspect of our meetings is the ‘Get together’ after. We can catch up with friends, meet new members and chat about the talk or whatever else is current. After Covid our membership dropped by about 15% and we reduced our fees/subscriptions to encourage people back. In addition, we moved to having the committee do the catering along with their spouses’ who took to the kitchen with some interest particularly when a beer or two was added to the incentive.
These two moves have helped put us in a better financial position but we do want to encourage more members so we can improve the catering and meet our financial obligations to ADFAS Central.
Some societies have closed down as a result of Covid and other factors, but we are regarded as one of the more successful groups although much of what we have in the bank is held for our Young Arts program which is so ably managed by Debra McGuigan. Debra’s report is tabled separately and demonstrates the importance we place on this programme.
Our society’s finances have been looked after by Liz Ewen and Catriona Custance, with Liz handing over to Catriona earlier this year. These two members have guided us through very difficult times, and we should be most grateful to them.
What is a society without a secretary...a jack of all trades, across all the issues, and Tracey Seath has done a sterling job including standing in for me while I had a brief sojourn into the health care system. Tracey has agreed to continue as secretary a move we will all benefit from. Keeping track of our membership and having the name tags ready has fallen on the shoulders of Lucy Griffith. One thing that helps at my age is to have that little reminder of who I am talking to pinned on their chest! I am very pleased to announce that Lucy, who now knows everyone, has agreed to be our incoming Chair of ADFAS Pokolbin.
A great deal of organisation goes into the lecture Programme, the bookings of venue and guest accommodation, the selection and printing of the programme and much, much more. The work done by Dearne Cameron is outstanding and we are very lucky to have her so actively engaged.
Our website and technical support over the last few years has been ably managed by Ian Veroni. He has found time with all his other work to lift us out of an earlier age of website management from which we all have benefited. Ian is leaving the Committee but is staying around to help with our Golf Day fundraiser.
No committee meeting occurs without a recording of the minutes and Dianne Nelson has brought her skills and attention to detail to this job with much aplomb. Di also organised our film nights just to keep herself busy and of course doubles up as ‘barrel girl’ for the raffles. Now you may not know after every lecture we put in a report to ADFAS central. The speaker is scored from 1 to 6 and an outline of their subject matter and presentation is made. The lecturer positions are very competitive and return invitations depend on a good report. Quietly in the background Richard Chalmers has done this job, accurately summarising and detailing the talks. I look forward to reading his excellent takes and share them with our committee before sending them to the centre. Richard is handing over this task next year to Tracey, so we thank him very much.
The term ADFAS has always needed explanation so we as a committee in deciding on next years programme felt “Talking Arts” as a subtitle may help explain what we do. Next years topics and lecturers promise to be yet another wonderful demonstration of ‘what the arts can do for us’ (not the Romans).
We are a committee of volunteers, each with busy lives and I must say how privileged I have been to be on a committee where everyone shares a keen interest in the Arts and works so hard. I became Chairman under sad and difficult circumstances -Heather McHendry who had been my neighbour growing up in Epping had asked me to be deputy chair not long before her unexpected death. I found myself with a ‘promotion’ I had not planned for! I have non the less very much enjoyed the task, the company and the friendships that ADFAS Pokolbin has bestowed on me. I look forward to seeing everyone next year and wish you all a merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Robert Lusby AM Professor Emeritus Sydney University Colonel RAAMC (ret)