Volunteers for Arts Margaret River were celebrated at the Margaret River Cultural Centre last Thursday evening at a special Christmas dinner.
Held in the soon-to-be remodelled theatre space, the large contingent of volunteers were addressed by Arts Margaret River General Manager Andrew Frith, Volunteer Coordinator Ian Smith and Marketing Manager Stephanie Kreutzer.
“We are here tonight to show our appreciation for the fact that you are what makes this organisation great,” Mr Frith told the invited guests.
“We’ve had a great year, with programme content and community participation, and you have played an enormous part in this.
“The fact that you have contributed more than 400 hours of unpaid service this year, equates to more than $100,000 in terms of work that would have had to have been done by somebody.
“In addition to this, you’ve been part of many events external to Arts Margaret River – CinefestOZ, Gourmet Escape, the Farmers Markets, the Leeuwin concert, and all those things have contributed over $9000 cash to the running of the organisation.
“But that’s just the financal part of your contribution, more than this is the goodwill that you bring.
“People recognise and respond to the fact that you’re giving your time to help the community, and that’s worth more than money.
“We are a community organisation and that community is you.”
Mr Frith also welcomed to the stage the newly announced Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival Director, Kerrie Yabsley.
“I really look forward to taking on the role of the Director’s position for the festival in 2018,” Ms Yabsley said.
“But like any one person, I can’t do it alone, and I really look forward to your support and commitment.”
Ms Kreutzer ran the attendees through the upcoming Arts Margaret River programme, highlighting a number of events which will require alternative venue locations while the Cultural Centre upgrades are completed.
“The long awaited renovations will commence,” Mr Frith said to cheers from the guests.
“The current timeline calls for a building tender to be put out in January and put to council in March,” he said.
“We are anticipating that building will commence in April or May, and conclude sometime in 2019.
“During construction we will not have access to the venue for the most part. We hope to have access to the multipurpose room, where the squash courts are now, at some point in 2019.
“Until then, we are going to have to find new ways, and new venues, in which to present our events to the community."
Mr Frith said regular events like school productions, the community cinema, Margaret River Regional Business Awards, theatre group productions and more would not be able to be held at the Cultural Centre until completion of the multi purpose room.
"As you can see, next year will be a challenge. But, it’s also a great opportunity – we need to use this time to generate community support of this great project to show the possibilities of the new venue, and to continue to present our artistic program.”
Guests at the dinner were also entertained by young local musicians Brittany Hartnett and Jensen Emmett throughout the evening.