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Letters To The Editor - February 24, 2024

Dear Sir,

In response to the article in last week’s Reporter, “Lakeside Artists Alliance Unravels,” I feel the need to clarify the financial standing of the organization known as the Ajijic Society of the Arts (ASA) before it was changed to Artist’s Alliance.

I was treasurer of ASA for 12 years starting in 2010.  I kept complete financial records, which were turned over to the new treasurer after the elections in February 2022.  Apparently, the new membership was told that no records had been kept, resulting in a financial mess that could only be resolved by having the new president also assume the duties of treasurer.  I have now been told that these records have been “found” and have asked that they be returned to me.

When the ASA treasury was turned over to the new board, there was a balance in the account of 118,516.00 pesos. There were no outstanding debts.  The organization was strong with over 300 members.  With this kind of stability, the idea of renting a space for a gallery would come up frequently.   The group was advised that even with a successful history, legally and financially this was not a feasible project. This kind of financial stewardship is what enabled the Ajijic Society of the Arts to function solvently for 40+ years.

Since the change in administration in February 2022, there apparently has been no accountability.   I have had no association with either ASA or AALC in any capacity, financial or advisory since that time. 

Gwynne Lott

Dear Sir,

Having been on the board of the Ajijic Society of the Arts (ASA) and an active member for ten years, I read your article with interest.

Unfortunately, ASA unraveled in less than a year after Bethany Puttnam became president. ASA was a viable part of this community for 40 years. It operated under a set of bylaws, was transparent financially, supported the LCS Children’s Art Program and had an elected board.  All of this disappeared within a few months and, from my perspective, so did any relationship with ASA.  The board, bylaws, LCS Children’s Art Program support, and accountability to the members became a thing of the past. 

Bethany created the Artists Alliance solely responsible to her and there was no resemblance to ASA.  Never did she ask former board members for advice on any matter. There was no treasurer, so there was no record of financial affairs given to the members. She started a scholarship program but this did not come to fruition as of this writing, so were the funds used to pay partial rent on the gallery?  She hired a local mural artist who offered his services at about half price. He finished the work but hasn’t been paid.

I could continue but there is no need.  I can only hope that the members were not impacted financially although they lost their dues for the year. So many questions and so few answers.

I am so sad as I loved ASA and the benefits it brought to this community.  I hope its good name has not been tarnished.  Perhaps artists will be able to resurrect an art association that will serve the members and community and operate with total transparency and involve the members in decision-making.  Many people want to return to the way it was. The Alliance never operated under ASA guidelines.

Stephany Andrews, president of Lake Chapala Fine Artists Guild