ArtsScene Vancouver's boardLink Live connects local arts organizations with young professionals

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      When a call for young professionals interested in volunteering with local arts organizations was placed in November 2013, more than 100 people answered by attending Vancouver’s first boardLink Live event. Organized by artsScene and held across eight Canadian cities, the networking event aims to help connect young people (aged 19 to 45) with board and committee positions at local arts groups.

      “There’s a real appetite to be able to give back to the Vancouver community,” Andrew Dilts, co-chair of artsScene’s Vancouver chapter, tells the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “A lot of people, especially those who have come out of dance and theatre backgrounds, really saw this as a good opportunity to be contributing to something they were passionate about.”

      Dilts has been involved with artsScene Vancouver for 10 months. The new lawyer, who was looking for a way to give back to the local community after graduating from UBC, is helping to organize the city’s second boardLink Live event, which will take place at the Law Courts Inn (800 Smithe Street) on May 27 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

      “We’ve got lawyers, young accountants, and people from all sorts of backgrounds on the professional side who want to get a little bit more experience out in the community,” Dilts says. “We’re looking at getting people involved with not only the arts board, but a lot of them tend to get involved in what the organizations do as well. For example, I had a friend who was placed on the CircusWest board of directors at the last boardLink, and she’s actually been active in a lot of different things that they’re doing to the point where her upcoming birthday party is going to involve CircusWest.”

      More than 30 arts organizations—spanning theatre, dance, music, visual arts, and media arts—will attend this year’s boardLink event, including the Vancouver Chamber Choir, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s School of Music, Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, Vancouver Fringe Festival, CelticFest Vancouver Society, and the Powell Street Festival Society.

      Attendees interested in connecting with one of these organizations are encouraged to think of skills they can bring to the table and what they hope to get out of the volunteer experience before heading to the event.

      “There will be representatives from arts organizations saying they’re looking for somebody who knows human resources, knows fundraising, or somebody who knows the legal aspect. They will know what skills and resources they need,” Dilts says.

      He advises, however, to keep an open mind in terms of the types of organizations associated with the arts.

      “I’m sure that my friend could not have told you she was looking specifically to sit on the board of a circus organization,” Dilts says. “But it sounds like she’s enjoyed that.”

      Tickets to boardLink Live are $12 (plus service fee; includes glass of wine) and available online.