Written by: Carmen Milenkovic, Executive Director
On September 28th, Donna Potter will ring in her last sale at the SCC Fine Craft Boutique and guide her final visitor through the SCC Gallery. After 21 years, Donna is saying goodbye. She has been a font of knowledge regarding the SCC’s history and the importance of Fine Craft in this province. Most importantly she has championed Saskatchewan’s craft artists, promoting each one with passion and love. We asked her to share some memories with us before she leaves.
What’s changed in the time that you’ve been with the SCC?
There have been so many changes in my 21 years so I will just touch on a few.
- The Building: The floor in the gallery used to be this old, dark, stained carpet. We would have it professionally steam cleaned but it would still end up with big folds in the carpet that people tripped over. In 2005 we received some funding and with the help of donations replaced the carpet with a new tile floor. Woo hoo! What a difference this made to the exhibitions in the gallery. In 2012 the gallery also received new lighting which made such a difference to the works on display. The “old boiler” that clanged and banged away was replaced a couple of years ago. When I worked alone in the building at night the boiler noise kept me company for sure. Kind of miss it! Did I really say that.
- Administration: I started working here before email, cell phones, texting, social media, etc. OMG! I have dated myself. We used a typewriter and carbon paper if you can believe it. Reporting to our funding body, Saskatchewan Arts Board, was so different then. I remember working for an entire day along with Pat Adams, Executive Director at the time, at the photocopier, just copying the report for 10 binders that would be sent by courier to Regina.
- The Staff: Wow! Over the years I have worked under ten different executive directors, all with their own style and flair, and five different coordinators with each of these departments: member services, exhibitions, and communications. I guess I have done a lot of training over the years. It was wonderful and exciting for me to talk to a new staff member about the SCC, and the members, and all that the SCC does.
What will you miss?
I am going to miss the staff so much! We have such an amazing staff. I will miss the members, many I consider part of my family. I will miss the customers and the return customers that I have helped to find fabulous gifts over the past five years of Boutique. I will miss the unpacking of newly arrived inventory for the Boutique which was always like Christmas for me! And even though it is time for me to retire I will miss my job, a job that I knew was a perfect fit for me the day I started it. I have been surrounded at my desk by beautiful art for the past 21 years. It doesn’t get any better than that. Oh wait a minute… it doesn’t have an ocean.
What advice do you have for our members?
To the members I would say to truly value and take ownership of this wonderful organization we call the Saskatchewan Craft Council. It hasn’t been easy; there have been good years and there have been not so good years. Over the past 44 years, a lot of hard work, dedication, commitment, time, and energy from member artists like yourselves has made the SCC what it is today. Please come out to annual meetings, become involved, raise your concerns, ask questions, volunteer when you can, and hopefully the SCC will continue for another 50 plus years.
Do you have any specific plans for retirement?
The ocean is my grounding so Mexico, Mexico, and more Mexico. A trip to Italy with my siblings when we can get it together. To become fluent in Spanish which for me means I will have to immerse myself in the culture, gosh darn! More time with my family and friends. Long walks whenever I want.
I am a huge fan of the SCC and will always promote it, the members, and the members’ work.
Donna’s Retirement Reception
Join us in the SCC Gallery on Wednesday, October 24th from 5 to 7 pm to say goodbye to Donna. Everyone is welcome!
We will miss you Donna, but we know that fun and sun are in your future. Enjoy what the world brings to you, and on behalf of all of us, thank you.