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Kolt to leave arts council job, but staying put within arts scene

Crystal Kolt is stepping down from her post with the organization she helped put on the map - but don’t think she’s going to leave Flin Flon’s art scene anytime soon.
Crystal Kolt, seen here in 2019, is stepping back from her post as cultural coordinator with the Flin Flon Arts Council. Kolt is staying in Flin Flon and will soon start another arts-related job that has not yet been announced.

Crystal Kolt is stepping down from her post with the organization she helped put on the map - but don’t think she’s going to leave Flin Flon’s art scene anytime soon.

The cofounder and current cultural coordinator for the Flin Flon Arts Council is stepping down from her position and stepping back from the council itself, effective later this spring. She won’t be going far away though, neither geographically or in her field.

“I’m not leaving town - I’m sticking around,” she said. Kolt said that she will be taking on a new position in the arts community, but hasn’t said exactly what it is yet - only that she is excited with the challenge.

“I’m still going to be involved here, supporting the cultural sector. It’s a really, really exciting time, I think, for the community in general and who’s going to be able to further develop the sector.”

Kolt, originally a native of Winnipeg, graduated from the University of Manitoba’s school of music before moving to Flin Flon in the 1990s. Since then, Kolt, along with her husband Mark, has taken a front-row seat in the years-long resurgence of Flin Flon arts, revitalizing the Arts Council and leading it for the past 15 years as its cultural coordinator. Kolt also organizes the annual Culture Days festival each fall, is the conductor for the Flin Flon Community Choir and is on the organizing committee for the Blueberry Jam Music Gathering. She is also the lead organizer for the upcoming production of Mary Poppins for the choir, coming up in less than two weeks, and a main factor behind the Arts Council's Uptown Emporium project.

Kolt’s work with the arts council has been key to all of those things coming up in the first place. She said she will look at her days with the group and be proud of the work that has been done, adding that she hopes to create more new things in her upcoming post.

“I love the Flin Flon Arts Council. I love everything I’ve done with the Flin Flon Arts Council and I think the thing that’s important to note is that I’m not leaving - I won’t be as responsible for all the regular events that are happening with the arts council, but I still hope to be really involved with the council and the arts community,” she said.

“I see our community as in a moment of renaissance, with lots of things happening that we all should be really excited about - this is one of them.”

As for what comes next for the council, Kolt says she hopes the next cultural coordinator will be able to adapt quicker to new technology and ideas while building on a solid foundation.

“There are things that are ready to go now that have been a benefit to the community - the online ticketing, for example, that was all such a big learning curve,” she said.

“The next person that we hire, I have no doubt they’ll be a lot more confident and comfortable with all the technology that we're using to drive this machine.”

The arts council has posted a listing for Kolt’s cultural coordinator job, with applications open until mid-May. Kolt said she may also be around to help whoever comes in next.

“I’m 100 per cent confident that the person will be able to do a better job - I’ve been running in so many different directions that I think they’ll be able to jump into the position and keep things updated,” she said.

“I sort of learned on the job and so, I can’t even pretend to say that’s the best way of doing social media things and whatever the case may be.”

The cultural coordinator job is a wide-ranging one, including some of the duties of a volunteer, some of the duties of an artist, some of the duties of an organizer and further tasks. Kolt said the long hours have been worth it and she will be willing to help whoever comes next.

“Culture Days is one that comes to mind - the thought of having a cultural coordinator, even if that person is someone I can mentor or help, that is just such a humongous thing that takes my whole summer, hours and hours and hours and hours. To be able to sort of help help the person, with that second set of hands, getting that sorted until we come up with a system, that's going to be wonderful - and that's not impossible,” she said.

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