Karina Sasseville left D’Arts et de rêves on December 6, 2019, after four years of loyal service, first as Coordinator, then as General Manager. How did this adventure of hers begin?
There was once upon a time a woman named Nicole who had just founded an organization for which she already had big dreams (The Story of D’Arts et de rêves, Chapter 1)… Nicole approached Karina and said to her something like this: "Come, we’ll be going places!” Everything had to be built from scratch: committees, team, procedures, barn, artists' residence, cultural park, events... The challenge, the development, and the numerous possibilities immediately appealed to Karina. What made her heart sway was without a doubt being able to work locally on a project with an international impact.
A job where routine sets in quickly leads to boredom. This was hardly the case with D’Arts et de rêves because the learning curve started right at the onset: the key learnings being how to structure dossiers while continuing the development of the organization, how to set long-term objectives, how artist residencies function (a whole world that was previously unknown to her). Karina liked to be in a continuous learning mode and that happened to always be the case because the more the project took shape, the more the tasks diversified and sometimes even accumulated; she appreciated that her initial skillset and abilities as a Coordinator were enhanced by her day-to-day work and appreciated since she was later promoted to Director General (DG).
When asked what her greatest contribution was, Karina spontaneously replies that she is particularly proud of:
- All that "we" have accomplished in the development of the park and in welcoming the artists.
- The grants we have obtained for the project.
- Having worked closely with the artists, having allowed them to create in Sutton, having supported them… it was the most satisfying part of my work!
- The last grant we received from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec:
- which ensures that a fantastic project will take place in Sutton next winter;
- with this grant, D’Arts et de rêves will now have access to financial operating support, which has been our goal since the beginning.
To have obtained this favorable response just before her departure was for Karina a fitting reward.
Karina has also managed, over the years, to build a network of faithful volunteers who have been more than willing to show up as soon as a call for help was made. The chores were always pleasant, especially since they were well organized. The fact that Karina always worked as hard as everyone else was a plus.
The four years on the job were however intense for Karina because her work was a mixture of both administration and events, all at a very fast pace. This mix could be a plus, an interesting diversity in itself, but the sustained rhythm was also exhausting because the workload kept increasing as the visionary D’Arts et de rêves projects took shape. (The new GM will be assisted by a full-time employee, which will make a difference).
Karina is well aware that D'Arts et de rêves is just starting to develop its full potential in the community. She states that:
- The renovation of the barn will allow the organization to welcome a greater number of artists and this all year round.
- The greatest impact will undoubtedly be for the artists working in the circus, as the artists’ residency and the work space adapted for circus arts will surely contribute to the emergence of independent artists' creations.
- In the park, there are so many possibilities for creation, courses, shows (in the amphitheater), workshops, notwithstanding environmental art (land art).
These ideas have been on the drawing board since the beginning, explains Karina, and will unfold even more so as the organization evolves. She takes pleasure in thinking that the community of Sutton will benefit from this green artistic space, a lively area she adds, since the organization has the capacity to bring us closer to art, to make us discover different practices and artists.
What projects are now on Karina’s plate? She shared with us that she would like to work again in documentary, an area of which she is quite passionate about. She also wants to leave the door open to other opportunities, maybe even embark on an adventure that she would not have imagined until now, her work at D’arts et de rêves having kept her busy, occupying her mind and monopolizing her energies.
Good luck Karina, may your dreams come true!
Asked what they remembered about the working bees in which they participated, a few people from Sutton were kind enough to share with us beautiful testimonies in honour of Karina.
I really enjoyed working with Karina. Her just being there is an extraordinary gift: she looks at you, she listens to you, she hears what you say and she nods showing that she understood. It is always so comforting and reassuring! Thank you Karina!
Louise Comtois, volunteer
To work alongside Karina, no matter the project or the organization in which she is involved, is like immerging oneself in a soothing environment of calm, diplomacy, and human warmth. Thank you Karina!
Denise Potvin, volunteer
Karina is a rare bird indeed: she knows how to ask for help without imposing herself: she listens to what we say, she considers our availability, our preferences, our tastes, our strengths, our weaknesses ... and above all, she knows how to recognize what we contribute to D’Arts et de rêves!
Pierre Surprenant, volunteer
When I worked with Karina for the Musart activity, I saw a General Manager (GM) who wasn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves, even at the risk of a lumbar sprain. In order to transport several beautiful wooden planks, 3 or 4 inches thick, 4 feet wide and 12-14 feet long, we had to lift them and put them in my trailer. We were six huffing and puffing, including Karina and me. Karina was all smiles and of an Olympian calm, despite the challenge of the task: that was proof enough for me that this GM could do anything. Congratulations Karina!
Gilles Lavoie, volunteer
What a pleasure it was to work with this woman during the last four years. Under her leadership, a Communications Committee was formed and we produced newsletters of which I am particularly proud. It was never a question of ego or of who would have the last word: it was really teamwork, two women aiming for a quality product. Karina was also open to suggestions, always with the aim of improving the D’Arts et de rêves communications. In addition, Karina knew how to trust the people with whom she chose to work, micro-management being not, but absolutely not her style. Pure pleasure it was, I tell you, to work alongside this extraordinary woman. Thank you Karina for this great complicity between us...
Liliane Lessard, volunteer