The New Albany Arts Council officially dissolved its relationship with the New Albany Art League at the arts council's board meeting Sept. 13.

The New Albany Arts Council officially dissolved its relationship with the New Albany Art League at the arts council’s board meeting Sept. 13.

“The split was because of a series of miscommunications that came to a head,” said Nathaniel Edwards, the art league’s founder. “They (the arts council board) felt that we as an art league had not proven our outcome. The goals we had stated, we had not met.”

Edwards founded the art league more than a year ago and the group was taken under the arts council’s wing in the hopes that the league would help promote visual arts within the community.

“The art league (established for and by local visual artists) has a separate website, nonprofit status and organization,” said Janis Nelson, publicity chair and at-large board member of the arts council. “Under the leadership of Nate Edwards, the New Albany Art League quickly became involved in several projects which the arts council could not oversee or finance, due to previous NAAC (New Albany Arts Council) commitments to, for example, our upcoming Harvest the Arts Festival and Night Moves concert.”

Edwards said the art league does have a separate website but does not have nonprofit status. He said though it was formed to support local art and promote the visual arts, the league “shifted gears” due to members’ suggestions and instead began focusing on programming.

One of its charges from the arts council was to take over the summer arts program and create a different approach by initiating a longer program than the previous two-week sessions.

The Sept. 13 arts council board minutes refer to the program not being completed and to commitments being made that were not authorized by the arts council board.

“Kathy (Mayhorn, board president,) spoke up regarding the numerous emails, over the past several months, to and from Nate on this workshop, as well as the other projects,” the minutes said. “He was negotiating contracts and making commitments that he was not authorized to make. Nate has caused dissension with some (city) officials, to which Kathy intervened. At this time, Kathy read a two-page letter addressed to Nate from the New Albany Arts Council, stating the board will ask for a vote for dissolution between the NAAC and the NAAL, effective immediately.”

The arts council board took action to approve the split.

Edwards said he was working with partners to do a series of art workshops in collaboration with New Albany Special Connections, a group that supports children with special needs in New Albany; VSA of Ohio, the state’s organization to empower people with disabilities through the arts; and the Lori Schottenstein Chabad Center of New Albany. Edwards said the workshops were to be taught by Candace Mazor Darman, a Sunbury resident, for children in kindergarten through 12th grade, at the Chabad center.

The split will cancel the program, Edwards said.

Nelson said the two organizations were never meant to remain as one.

‘“From the beginning of the relationship, it was expected that the art league would outgrow its need for direction from the New Albany Arts Council, as it quickly has done,” she said.

Edwards said the art league now must determine if it will file for nonprofit status and continue its mission.

“We’ll have to take the temperature of the community and see if the art league is something the community wants,” he said.

lwince@thisweeknews.com

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