By David Lillard
The Barns of Rose Hill announced that Diana Kincannon would return to the Barns of Rose Hill to serve as chairman of its board of directors. Her term of office began January 1. Kincannon led the capital campaign from 2004 to 2011 that resulted in the restoration of the Barns in Rose Hill Park. The Observer asked her to outline some of the Barns’ challenges and its aspirations for the future.
What are the primary challenges the board will tackle in your first six months as chair?
We will be focused on establishing a sustainable operating platform and beginning both an endowment fund and a maintenance fund. We’ll also be looking at our programming, and we will welcome input from the community in that area.
How will the board work to diversify the funding streams needed to sustain the Barns?
The Barns is like small and large arts organizations all over the state and nation in having an ongoing need to raise sustaining funds. The most important funding stream is that of major gifts from patrons, private individuals who wish to support the work of the Barns in promoting “the power of beauty and the deep power of harmony” (Wordsworth). These are individuals who value the arts and their power to interpret life and discern meaning, the power to influence people of all ages to experience life in a deeper and more positive way.
Other income streams include grants, memberships and appeals, special events, corporate sponsorships and event underwriting. We have already begun working in these areas, and the next six months are very important ones in our fundraising efforts.
What types of programming changes do you foresee in changing the financial prospects for sustainability?
I mentioned that we will be looking at programming, and that will be led by a programming committee made up of both board and community members. Input from the community would be appreciated. We have a wealth of talent in all visual, literary and performing arts in the region, and we have people who have had extraordinary careers and life experiences; one of our efforts will be to feature a greater diversity of programs featuring nearby resources that will appeal to our members and supporters. We will have to consider in each case if the proposed program will be profitable. Establishing a sustainable financial basis is extremely important.
Do you anticipate different types of musical programming that would appeal to a broader audience?
The programming committee will be open to ideas. We’ve been able to feature just about every kind of musical programming—serious music of the classical and romantic eras, blues, bluegrass, country, contemporary dance. I’d personally like to have a Broadway musical review, a ballroom dancing event, a music of the 40s swing and dance event—really, we’re open to your ideas and invite readers of the Observer to tell us what they would like. Send a message to email@example.com.
How is the organization doing right now? Can it be sustained while going through the current transition?
The Barns is in a challenging financial situation right now. I expect to be able to sustain an even keel while we work to establish a strong foundation, particularly if all those whose belief in the vision for the Barns led them to help build this beautiful facility. We have built the structure—the “body”, if you will. Now we must feed the “soul” of the Barns, its life as a vitally functioning center for community, arts and education. We will need, we do need, for Barns angels and patrons to sustain the organization.
What else would you like to tell Observer readers?
While there have been growing pains, and certainly a steep learning curve over the first two years of serving the community, these are to be expected. My aspirations, the board’s aspirations, are to establish an income stream that is predictable and reliable, that allows us to operate at the professional level our community deserves, and that allows us to initiate an endowment fund and a maintenance fund. We are committed to fulfilling our governance responsibilities by ensuring the Barns’ future. These actions are essential to support the Barns’ reason for being, the reason thousands of gifts were given to restore the old barns—to serve those who come to the Barns with ever more meaningful and delightful programs and events to enrich their lives and make the world a better place in the process.