An Okotoks man who’s been mentoring local artists for almost two years has now taken a place at the podium.
Vick Maan was elected president of the Okotoks Arts Council in late February, taking the reins from Dale Fea to lead in creating and maintaining a vibrant arts culture while fostering collaborative friendships across the Foothills.
“My perceived role is to facilitate our meetings in a harmonious manner to allow equal opportunity to everyone to be heard,” he said. “I am also there to raise the morale and help keep us focused on our goal of supporting the arts in our community to the best of our collective abilities.”
Maan said he joined the arts council last year after receiving an invitation, and nominated himself as president during the council’s annual general meeting on Feb. 29.
“I feel confident in my abilities to lead with love and logic,” he said. “I’m committing to one year, then I’m going to nominate a person who shows exemplary communication skills and someone who has been involved in supporting arts as a whole.”
The Okotoks Arts Council, a registered not-for-profit society established in 1981, works in partnership with the Town of Okotoks to act as a central hub for arts and culture in the Foothills by developing relationships with and between the arts, social and business community. This includes creating educational opportunities for artists such as workshops, lectures, mentoring and studio space for all forms of art.
“We’re a voice for the people,” said Maan. “We must start with the youth and enrich their culture and then focus on the adults.”
Since stepping into the role of president, Maan said he’s been reaching out to artists in various fields to ensure their needs are being met.
“We want to support local entrepreneurs who are already small business owners that contribute to the culture, whether they give music lessons or are sculptors,” he said. “It’s about connectivity. If we can all come together in alignment with one vision of supporting our arts in the Foothills region you will see a renaissance.”
For almost two years, Maan has been mentoring people in the arts community from painters to musicians. He’s been business coaching for three years.
“I’ve been fully invested in the arts through supporting local adults and youth with open mics at Tribal Connection Market,” he said, referring to Freestyle Friday. “We also started a musical library at Tribal Connection Market where the community donated 10 instruments from guitars to pianos for children and adults to sign out.”
A year ago, Maan created the non-for-profit organization Mental Wealth, which offers community support through social, physical and mental health initiatives.
“It’s a non-profit organization, but I’m working towards becoming a social enterprise,” he said.
Mental Wealth was offering support and connections while raising awareness for free mental health initiatives through 34 free classes a month before social distancing regulations were implemented in light of COVID-19.
Now, many artists are struggling to make a living with recreational facilities closed and social distancing the norm, yet Maan is maintaining a positive attitude.
“We’re going to adapt, we’re going to evolve,” he said. “We’ll work on it together as a team and will present our strategy to the community. As long as we’re prepared to adapt we will see steady growth in all avenues. We will plan, not months ahead, but week by week, brick by brick.”
Maan encourages the public to follow the Okotoks Arts Council on Facebook to keep up on its plans. Visit https://www.facebook.com/Arts4Foothills/
“Let’s work together and let’s create a renaissance right here in Okotoks and show the world what we can do,” he said. “Creativity should have no boundaries. What we want to do with the Okotoks Arts Council is we want to be a representative for the arts to the people.”
For updated information, follow our COVID-19 special section for the latest local and national news on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as resources, FAQs and more.