A behind-the-scenes-look at the craziness and joy of planning an arts festival
There we were, four women in an emergency meeting, the funding deadline breathing down our necks.
All doing our best to remain calm.
We could blame the funding organization for repeatedly changing its deadlines. But also true: we got our dates mixed up.
Late one night, one of us suddenly realized the deadline wasn’t 9 days away.
Omigawd! It was less than 48 hours away with still lots of work to be done!
The thing is: We’re all volunteers working hard, but hard work isn’t enough. To stage this year’s Festival of the Arts, we need to find sources of funding.
The other reality? Grant applications take a lot of effort. You don’t want to make a mistake. You want to proceed carefully and give it your very best shot.
Frantic emails flew.
Felicity woke up at 5 a.m. and wrote: “I can meet at 9:30.”
Kim, ever calm, replied immediately: “We can meet at my house.”
Jennifer said: “I have to take the dogs to the vet, but I’ll join in later”.
Cynthia, sender of the frantic email, wondered how she’d get there, with so little sleep and her right side in pain.
But get there we did. We sat at Kim’s dining table and she and Felicity fired up their laptops. Cynthia sat down and tried to help, then got up and hobbled around and sat down again. Kim plied us all with food and drink, and we called Jennifer on the phone.
Later, we’d joke that we were a motley crew — one Brit, one Bermudian, one Jamaican, one Montrealer, one disabled and one “going deaf” — but all fabulously Canadian, and all loving this volunteer work with people we admire, for a cause we’re passionately committed to.
When you apply for a grant, you have to eloquently describe why your project is so relevant and exciting that it deserves funding. In the process, you rediscover just how wonderful this thing is that you’re building.
All that thinking, talking and writing made us hungry, so Kim made a pizza with spinach and olives in between hammering away at her laptop. Pizza had never tasted so good!
There were crazy moments. The calculator seemed to be malfunctioning. Sleep-deprived Cynthia volunteered to calculate manually, using pen and paper – forgetting she had a calculator on her mobile. As she scribbled and repeatedly crossed things out, no-one had the heart to tell her to stop.
When Felicity had to leave for a scheduled appointment, we decided to stay calm. She’s our wise leader, you see, and we depend on her guidance. We soldiered on.
Felicity returned and soon after, we shocked ourselves by discovering that most of the work was done. It was now over to the unflappable Jennifer to apply the finishing touches and upload everything on time.
Two hours before deadline, Jennifer sent an email titled “Submitted!”
We’d done it. Hooray!!
Now, of course, we wait some months before knowing if Spirit of the Hills will get the grant. But with all the festival tasks we have to juggle, time will fly.
Our thanks to Ron for his early work on the grant applications.