LEWISTON — Debt and a sense that L/A Arts has drifted from its original mission has the group's board of directors considering the fate of the downtown arts agency.
John Painter, secretary of the board, said members have been meeting over the last few weeks to pour over financial documents. They're scheduled to meet Monday night.
"It's just a huge amount of stuff we are pawing through," Painter said. "I believe this will be a formal board meeting to get the sense of the board and determine, are we going to approach potential donors for help or do we need to look at Chapter 7? We have some major decisions."
Painter said the arts agency has more than $100,000 of debt.
"We've estimated that we'd need more than that to make it through the year," Painter said.
Painter said no single part of the debt stands out.
"It's really a range of things, almost too numerous to articulate," he said. "It's taken the board a huge amount of time to go over the paperwork and understand where we are and what our opportunities are, given the information that we have."
The board parted ways with Executive Director Odelle Bowman earlier this month. Josh Vink, director of the Arts in Education program, will serve as acting executive director going forward, Painter said.
Painter declined to comment on why and how Bowman left. She was director for two years and helped create several events during that time, including the February ICEfest L/A and the monthly Art Walks in downtown Lewiston. The group also helped operate a Lisbon Street art gallery for a time and a stage under its Lisbon Street office.
Painter said those may be the kind of things the organization will stay away from if it manages to survive.
"We have a number of arts organizations, theaters, music societies and other groups that we should not, in any way, compete with," Painter said. "I think there has been a little bit of concern about that."
Instead, Painter said the group may not sponsor performances, but support event and arts sponsors.
"It's been a straying from our original mission of advocacy, focusing on community arts education and support for the arts in general. There have been so many things, all over the place," Painter said. "We got to the point where we didn't have stringent enough financial controls in place, our business model just was not going to work as a result and there was some poor decision making about our priorities."