For 20 years, Alanna Jankov created positive experiences for people who came to have their photographs taken at her studio.
“Three per cent (of the time) was spent taking the photo, the rest was getting to know the person,” says the Charlottetown photographer, who sold her company a year ago to explore other career avenues.
Now as the new executive director of The Guild in Charlottetown, Jankov uses the same approach to create positive experiences for artists and audience members.
“I want to build on the positive relationships that I’ve developed in the past and draw on those people as patrons, volunteers and supporters at The Guild,” says Jankov, who started the position on July 1.
And after just eight weeks at the helm, Jankov is happy with the way things are progressing.
“It’s been a really excellent Guild summer. We’ve had lots of things happening,” she says.
Highlights of the summer season included The Great Kapok Tree, a black light theatre production, the Popalopalots, an improv show featuring Rob MacDonald and Graham Putnam with Dylan Miller, Jordan Cameron, Ben Hartley, Justin Shaw and Cameron MacDonald, and Reasonable Volume, a music series from Lennie MacPherson and friends and Sound of the City, a Wednesday night music series showcasing local bands attended by enthusiastic audiences.
“The good news is Popalopalots will be back next summer and we’re hoping that Julia Sauve will return with another great blacklight theatre production,” Jankov says.
From an organizational perspective, there have been other developments as well.
“In terms of our vision, we are looking at some really neat things that will come into place, but I can’t tell you about just now,” she says.
Jankov says The Guild’s dream is to remain open 12 months of the year. And she’s ready to do anything in her power to make that happen.
“We will be available for bookings and events, providing meeting rooms for anything anyone wants to use the facility for . . . Even, during the winter when (the annual) planning session for the next season is underway, the facility can still be used,” she says.
Another part of The Guild’s vision is to support emerging artists by offering subsidized theatre and gallery space.
“The more sponsorship we get the more we can offer the arts and culture community,” says Jankov.
She’s skilled in her ability to cut through red tape.
“I understand the processes of policies throughout the four levels of government so I understand how to get in and out of those areas as well as the business world as well, whether it’s connections through the Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce or from past relationships and trust that I’ve built up over the years running my own business,” she says.
The part of the job she likes most is introducing the world to the arts community.
“There’s a whole lot of people that don’t know about us but we need them to know (us). For example, we want to invite in hockey players and ball players to enjoy what arts and culture has in store for them,” she says.
Looking forward to the fall, she’s enthusiastic.
“September is going to be busy,” she says.
Computer Camp, featuring performances by Critical, Sercee, Cam Smith, Jay Mayne and Weirdo Click will hit the stage Sept. 7 at 9 p.m.
This hip-hop show is open to people of all ages. Due to strong language, an age restriction of 16 plus is recommended.
Don’t Leave Us Hanging, an exhibition by Island artists Kim Jabbour, Heather Reid and Tanya Sheridan will take place in the Gallery@the Guild, Sept. 11-29.
The Popalopalots return to The Guild main stage on Thursdays in September and October, starting Sept. 20. Showtime is 8 p.m.
ECMA award-winning musician, Charlie A’Court, will perform in concert at The Guild on Sept. 29.
Jankov and her team are also making plans for shows as far away as November.
“I’m excited about our first-ever Guild fundraiser on Nov. 1. It will be especially great because Patrick Ledwell has agreed to emcee it.
“There are other things in the works including whether we will offer a teaching space. So stay tuned, we have much more to come,” she says.
Sally Cole is a features writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.