NEWTON — Members of Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council held their annual meeting on Monday evening at the gallery on Spring Street in Newton.

In his address, Council President Perry Anderson, explained the recent changes in the organization. In December, the board of trustees voted to change the Council to an all-volunteer organization, eliminating three paid positions. This was made necessary by net income in 2016 being less than planned.

Perry emphasized that the Council will offer the full program of events planned for 2017, and that the funding of Sussex County arts and history organizations will not be affected by the change. The New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey Historical Commission have been briefed on the change and continue to provide their financial support for the Council’s work.

Perry paid a tribute to MaryJo Mathias, who resigned as Executive Director in December, with the decision of the Council to become an all-volunteer organization. On behalf of the Board of Trustees he thanked MaryJo for her many contributions to the Council where she also served as Chair of the Art Re-grant Committee, and President of the Board of Trustees.

For 2017, the duties of the Executive Director will be shared by the “Office of the President”: Melinda McCoy-Miller – Treasurer, JoAnne Scheidt – Vice President & Art Re-grant Committee Chair, Trevor Hodgson – Trustee & Art Committee Chair and Perry Anderson – President.

The Council administers the distribution of New Jersey state funding to art and history nonprofits in Sussex County. This is the first year that the Council has obtained the History grant. Representatives of the recipient organizations were present to learn what funding they will receive for 2017. JoAnne Scheidt announced the art awards to ten performing groups, and eight community organizations for a total of $38,496. The history grants, totaling $25,400 are awarded to six county historical societies and museums.

In elections for three year terms on the board of trustees, Kathy Pope, Maureen Hanifan and Melinda McCoy-Miller were reelected and Linda Swentzel was elected for her first term.

The council is looking for volunteers, and new board members with expertise in marketing, fund raising, technology and social media. It also continues to seek financial support from the business community.