Sequim Arts, museum are partners again

The bridge is back up between Sequim Arts and the Museum & Arts Center of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.

The bridge is back up between Sequim Arts and the Museum & Arts Center of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley.

Linda Stadtmiller, Sequim Arts president, said they are working on contracts to bring the Small Works Art Show back to the MAC’s exhibit center, 175 Cedar St., in December, Student Art Show in March 2015 and Juried Art Show in May 2015.

The news comes 10 months after Sequim Arts severed its relationship with the MAC over a disagreement about shared earnings, estimated at about $1,000, from an art show with former MAC Executive Director DJ Bassett.

Sequim Arts did not have a contract, said Stadtmiller in a previous interview, but the groups always shared commissions from previous shows.

The original agreement was made in a handshake agreement nearly two decades ago, said Judy Stipe, MAC spokesman.

Bassett said in a previous interview the MAC charged a 25 percent commission on artwork sold to cover expenses. He wished Sequim Arts well and said it may be best for them to grow.

Stipe said welcoming Sequim Arts back was the right thing to do. “Because a 20-year connection is too valuable to break,” she said.

Through the agreement, the MAC’s debt to Sequim Arts was forgiven, Stadtmiller said.

“We consider it a donation to museum,” she said. “It wasn’t about the money. It was about how it was handled.”

Stadtmiller, Bridget Baker and Randy Radock of Sequim Arts were the first to volunteer in the exhibit center after major changes within the organization in March when all but the bookkeeper and a few trustees resigned over organizational differences.

Stadtmiller, also a former MAC trustee, said she feels good about the changes. “They are working really hard to keep the Museum & Arts Center going strong,” she said.

“We never had issues with the museum. We had issues with how things were being run. It seems to be fixed now.”

Changes, improvements

Many of the MAC’S current trustees and volunteers lobbied for openness of the organization’s finances and its direction beginning in January at the MAC’s annual meeting. There, former consultants revealed the MAC had lost money each year since at least 2008 including $138,998 in 2013.

They estimated to lose about $65,458 this year and to cut costs closed its Second Chance Consignment Store on Feb. 25, which many contested saying it was never revealed the business lost money.

Louie Rychlik, MAC treasurer, said since the changeover the MAC is caught up on its bills and made a profit in April. “The only labor we had last month was the bookkeeper and other than that it’s all volunteer and that’s the way it should be,” he said. “We have $35,000 in bank and we’re happy.”

Rychlik said the MAC isn’t in debt to pay unemployment to its former employees and has no issues with its former consultants.

One consultant, Michael Friedline, gave the MAC $1,000 back because he felt he was paid too much.

“He didn’t have to do that but he did it,” Rychlik said. “It’s hard to pay consultants $29,000 when you don’t have any money. If you don’t have the money, you don’t go hire consultants.”

Stipe said they’ve cut several expenses along with staffing including banking, phone services and utilities.

The rent of the schoolhouse and upcoming fund-raisers, such as walking tours during the festival and a tour of the DeWitt Building on Sequim Avenue are a few of the ways they hope to add income, Rychlik said.

“We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Stipe said.

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