Advisory Group to Reflect, Assess & Guide PuSh Restructuring
September 17, 2020
These are challenging times. We are learning to live with COVID-19. Our skies are smoky from the climate emergency. The reckoning with structural racism continues around the world. The arts sector faces greater instability than ever before. It is within this context that we are taking on challenges within PuSh as an organization.
In June 2020, PuSh’s board and management undertook significant organizational restructuring, in response to the Society’s financial position and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Society completed its 2020 fiscal year with an accumulated deficit of $106,000. Management was also forecasting a significant (85%) reduction in box office revenues due to COVID-19, alongside reductions in other revenue streams. The restructuring in response to these realities unfortunately resulted in the elimination of the Patron Services and Associate Artistic Director positions — both held by women of colour. In the days that followed, you raised important and hard-hitting questions about these decisions and the Society’s structure.
On July 3, after several emergency meetings, the board announced that the Executive & Artistic Director was no longer employed by the PuSh Festival; this led to further community response and discussion.
We have heard your responses, questions, and comments and are committed to doing the hard work of reimagining PuSh through a social justice and equity lens.
Staff and board have met frequently over the past eleven weeks, and have included members of the broader artistic community (in the absence of internal artistic leadership) in these conversations, in an effort to determine a path forward.
As a dedicated PuSh supporter, we want to make sure you are up to date on the actions we are taking as an organization.
- We are undertaking a significant review of our actions as a board and staff and are doing so in consultation with community members and long-time supporters of the PuSh Festival.
- We have created an Advisory Group to bring an outside perspective as part of a full Organization Review of PuSh and its structures. The Advisory Group is comprised of the following people:
- Camyar Chaichian: Arts Manager, Consultant & Independent Theatre Artist
- Maiko Yamamoto: Co-Artistic Director, Theatre Replacement
- Jeanette Kotowich: Independent Choreographer & Dance Artist
- Kaen Valoise: Operations Manager, PuSh Festival
- Cory Philley: Board Member, PuSh Festival; Arts Manager & Independent Theatre Artist
We are grateful to those community members who have stepped forward to offer their expertise in support of the Festival through this challenging time. We have also engaged experienced facilitator Nicki Kahnamoui to guide and manage the review process.
This process will be open and transparent and we will invite our audience members, colleagues, volunteers, artists, supporters, funders, and partners to be part of the process. In order to accomplish this, the process will have a home on our website. We will be posting regular updates and soliciting your feedback through various channels.
These are initial steps in what we hope will be a process that restores your trust in PuSh and results in a healthy, strong, inclusive, and sustainable organization with empowered artistic leadership. An organization that can continue its legacy of serving Vancouver audiences and providing a venue for innovative artistic practices, a platform for systemically underrepresented voices, and a stage for a broad diversity of artists.
On behalf of PuSh,