The Cloudscape Comics Society has many faces – we publish anthologies, help local artists network and participate in comic events, and support the community in their comic-making endeavours. The part of Cloudscape that members are most familiar with is the social joy of meeting at the Grind Gallery and Cafe every Wednesday. Cloudscape began in earnest while meeting there, and has blossomed into a fully fledged society of over 60 members. Tonight Cloudscape members flooded the Grind to participate in the early voting of the Society’s first call for new directors, expanding the board from 3 to 5 total members.
The new positions up for election are the Treasurer and Ad Hoc Director. Four members have put their names forward in this exciting race to help grow the organisation. I had the opportunity to chat with the candidates and read their platforms, and they offer an exciting and bright look into Cloudscape’s future.
“I’ve only been a member of Cloudscape for a few months now,” say Christine Vivier in her campaign introduction, “but being with this group has given direction to my art and given me the opportunity to meet and work with exceptionally talented people.”
Running for Ad Hoc Director, Christine expresses an interest in continuing and supporting the events that have had such a positive effect for her. Christine has experience working with the Vancouver School Board as a Comic Mentor as well as teaching overseas and working in office administration. “My experiences have given me a strong work ethic,” she adds, “as well as the ability to cope with challenging circumstances, and an ability to be flexible and think critically.”
Also in attendance and moving through the large group of members at the Grind was Bevan Thomas, the second candidate for Ad Hoc Director. In between helping board directors with website content and discussing story prospects with other members, he finds time to stop and chat with members interested in what he will bring to the table for Cloudscape. “Since I am purely a writer, my creative projects are never individual works,” Bevan explains in his campaign platform, “[they] are collaborations in which I build a rapport with another person and then develop my stories to play to their strengths and achieve synthesis. It is never just what I can do, but what we can do together.”
Bevan is perhaps best known as a prolific writer with Cloudscape, working with several artists on stories slated for Giants of Main Street and the Digital Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to the Cloudscape blog with thoughts, ideas and challenges. “I intend to continue to develop the Cloudscape website, creating useful and compelling content, optimizing it for search engines, and spreading the word, ” He promises, “Though right now the website is my biggest focus, I’m not stopping there. I have various other ideas about how to give Cloudscape stronger branding, develop a stronger sense of community, and get the word out about this great organization of ours.”
Treasurer is by far the most bureaucratic position up for grabs. The winning candidate will be responsible for balancing Cloudscape’s books and budgeting for future projects, not an easy job at all. Both Sydney More and Oliver McTavish-Wisden feel up for the daunting task.
“I spent my last year at SFU as a treasurer for the Grad Show committee, which included writing grant proposals, fundraising, creating a budget, and account administration.” Oliver says of his past experience. The SFU School for Contemporary Arts graduation show is the highlight of the university every May, displaying the culmination of a year’s work from the 4th year studio class. The budget encompasses thousands of dollars annually with funding from several student, university and external organisations, like the Simon Fraser Student Society.
“I’ve decided to run because I want to help Vancouver’s indie comic scene grow,” Oliver continues, “I want your ideas to explode and put Vancouver on the map of cities known for innovation and creativity. Either above or underground, I think it’s possible to build a community around the art we love to create and enjoy.”
Sydney More has been acting Treasurer for Cloudscape ever since the organisation began to outgrow the capacity of the three existing board members, and is excited to throw her hat into the ring. “I have been heavily involved with our group since last August – promoting our publications and membership at conventions and online,” Sydney begins, ” I am currently
an editor for Giants of Main Street, and was a contributor for 21 Journeys. I helped to organize and obtain supplies for a number of Cloudscape fundraisers (Including spearheading the 8” by 8” art sale).” She even fondly remembers the time she spent helping out with the 24 hour jam while fundraising for 21 Journeys. The jam was a group of Cloudscape members who entertained a live internet stream for 24 hours straight, requiring a certain level of donations each hour to keep going.
What does Sydney have in store for the future? “With my bookkeeping and management experience, I intend to eliminate a significant portion of the financial obligation of members and contributors in terms of book launches, printing and shipping costs, et cetera, by introducing a stricter spending budget, by implementing more fund raising initiatives, and by monetizing our assets more effectively.” While that all sounds quite dry and important, she has other, more creative plans as well. Sydney has proposed a hand published zine anthology to support members’ shorter stories called “Silver Lining.”
While the early voting for the candidates has finished, members will have another opportunity to vote at the upcoming General Meeting on Wednesday August 24 at 7:30 PM.
The meeting will not be held at the Grind, but at President Jeff Ellis’ residence. If you would like the address, or to inquire about your status as a member, feel free to contact Communications Director Jonathon Dalton (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will access his internal brain files and pass on the information.
All of the Candidate Platforms can be read in full here.