The Future of Tree

November 2, 2019

In June 2020, Tree Reading Series will become 40 years old. This is an exciting milestone that will also be, potentially, a time of great change for Tree. At that time, I will be stepping down as Artistic Director and President of Tree Reading Series, following two years in these roles, and current Treasurer Scott Lemoine will be stepping down from the board, after 2.5 years of work on Tree’s team.

It is important to have leadership lined up well in advance. It is also, in this instance, important to know whether or not there will be new leadership at all. I would be so excited to place Tree into good hands, and I believe that those good hands might be out there in Ottawa’s literary community. I also want to leave room for the possibility that such good hands do not happen to be out there right now.

It is incredibly rewarding to organize a reading series. It’s also serious and challenging work. Future board members of Tree Reading Series will have to manage the current workload, and will also have to steer their way through the shifting landscape of arts support that has already affected reading series and literary events across Canada in the recent past.

In early 2018, as you might recall, Tree was in crisis mode. Thanks to the hard work of that year’s Board and the generosity of donors, a successful GoFundMe campaign gave Tree some much-needed sustenance. That funding, along with some successful grant applications and some strategic changes to programming, enabled Tree’s 2018-2019 season as well as its current 2019-2020 season. Tree remains in good shape today. Currently there are enough funds to continue Tree in its current monthly form through to the end of 2020. With hard work and strategic thinking from its board of directors, Tree could continue beyond that point – but it requires several people to share the workload.

If a new Artistic Director is confirmed, I would be eager to let them shadow every detail of the role, from grant applications, to communication with potential and confirmed readers, to other administrative aspects of the role. Scott would also be happy to provide all the handover support that is needed for an incoming Treasurer.

If you are interested in a role with Tree in 2020, please contact info@treereadingseries.ca by December 1, 2019. Please indicate your level of availability from December 1, 2019 onwards, and feel free also to indicate the sort of role you would be interested in. Tree needs all kinds of skill sets: communication skills, administration, financial acumen, innovative thinking and know-how.

Once we have gathered expressions of interest, we will call a meeting for early December to discuss and make decisions about roles and responsibilities and to determine the logistics of Tree’s future, in one direction or the other. One direction is new leadership. The other direction is a fantastic final season between now and June 2020, complete with more amazing open mics, more talented features, and the send-off that is deserved by Canada’s longest-running poetry reading series.

Please stay tuned, and many thanks for the time you took to read this.

Ben Ladouceur,
Artistic Director
Tree Reading Series