January 2018 Board Meeting Minutes

Water Street Studios Board Meeting
January 17th, 2018

Attendees: Dani, Steve, Buzz, Kurt, Christine, Stacey, Richard

Meeting Called to Order @ 7:32 a.m.

Minutes from December 13th approved

Motion: Kurt; Second: Christine 

Treasurer’s Report

QB Reports & Cash on hand reported

Stacey to work with Dani to open an account for people to donate stock to WSS. Budget vs Actuals were reported and discussed. Although WSS met budget overall, the big take away(s) were some of the programs were down significantly from budget (e.g. SOA & Makers Space) and contributions were higher to offset. Also of note, we don’t have any fundraisers planned in the next few months. In the end, the next six months income to outflow looks to run a negative.

Kurt asked why our expenses overall look so much higher than budgeted.  Budget was reviewed and board discussed that a good portion of expense overrun is due to how things are categorized and input as opposed to just being over budget. (For example, the expense numbers do not show where certain expenses are offset by a grant.)  Stacey and Dani to work with Walt, WSS new accountant, to clean up going forward.

Board discussed if WSS can supplement SOA by offering after school art classes right at the school (to supplement SOA loss due to Ripple Effect).  Dani/Karine to investigate.

Dani noted our accounting firm made several errors on our 990.  She’s working with firm to get corrected and is hoping to finalize ASAP.

Presidents Report

Steve confirmed that as of right now, artists cannot use a portion of Project Fusion commissioned pieces as a tax write off.  Only artwork that would be exempt from sales tax would be pieces of work unique to the patron.  However federal tax policy may shift so we should revisit in the future. Steve received a commitment from BEI to set classroom rent at $500 per month fixed for two years. Amendment to lease will be signed soon. Capital improvement costs were not discussed with BEI, but will be once we have cost estimates specific to HVAC improvements. At future capital improvement meeting Dani will also make BEI aware that we see evidence of moisture in the walls.

ED Report

Dani’s 2018 Priorities & Goals. All agreed that Building a 3-year strategic plan and focusing on fundraising (corporate and individual) are two 2018 key priorities. Identifying capital improvement needs/costs was also identified as of importance in 2018. All agreed that two key committees need to be to be formed and activated to support key priorities. Strategic committee (3-year strategic plan goal) and Finance committee (fundraising goal) are priorities at this point. Discussed reality that 80% of our offerings are not profitable simply as a result of being true to our mission.  As such, need to focus on sponsorship for our offerings. Discussion specific to our growth over the last two years.  As a result, all agreed we need to step back and look at/evaluate all our programming and offerings to ensure time and dollars are being prioritized effectively and efficiently.

Studio Rental Committee & Process: Dani proposed a new process for new studio rentals, proposal was discussed and everyone agreed we should implement process as presented. At Dani’s suggestion, board agreed we should begin to do background and credit checks on individuals who want to rent studios going forward. Dani to discuss with our lawyer to determine how to implement. Board discussed we will not do credit/background checks retroactively.  Only going forward with new rentals. Board was in agreement we should have a studio rental committee to screen applicants, and that this committee will include a resident artist (exactly who to be determined by Dani) Lease Rental Agreement Change for Instructors. The key thing that must be changed is we need to be sure ALL lessons taught on site/in studio go through Water Street Studios. Dani to meet with Karine to develop updated language we can use to explain this new policy. Need to recognize this will be a big adjustment for some, and as such need to notify residents ASAP.  Was noted that insurance requirements (as well as the fact WSS is subsidizing studios) absolutely requires this change.


An outreach report was emailed to board for all to review.  No discussion required.


Dani noted that donations in Adam Graves honor were collected and memberships, shirts, etc. were sent to the family as a thank you. Dani noted that the WSS annual appeal letter was sent out and garnered approx. $800 - $1,000 in donations. Dani reported that the Winterfest Art Market netted approx. $4,500.  Sales were approx. $5K which goes back to the artist.  Learnings from this year will be implemented in future events. Dani sent a letter of intent to Dunham Fund. Proposal was well received overall; a few adjustments will be made and final proposal will be submitted.  Dani will keep board informed of progress. Dani secured a legacy building partner with BEI.  They are giving WSS a $20K sponsorship (unrestricted funds).  Dani to negotiate timing of funds received. Dani secured a sponsorship with Fast Color - opportunity to get up to $5K donations of marketing material.


Richard reported that the gallery is booking shows for 2019 at this point (2018 is full). Gallery committee has received new testimonials which will be in the annual report

Old Business - Dani

Remember to introduce businesses to Dani so she can approach for sponsorship.

New Business - Dani

Looking to implement a studio scholarship in an important attempt to assist deserving artist(s) and to diversify the WSS artist community.  We will continue to look for a sponsor for program. WSS was approached by the NEA to apply for funding.  Dani will peruse. Was noted that only reason we are eligible for this funding is because we are ADA accessible (wheelchair lift). Dani noted as an FYI to the board that ADA legislation (specific to a historic building) may have changed.

Meeting Adjourned @ 9:39 a.m.

Motion: Kurt; Second: Buzz