January 2010 BSA Newsletter (PDF)
In the last few years, as most of you know, we have expanded our reach and operations in our quest to make ourselves more relevant—both to our members as well as to the Western New York arts community. It has been no cakewalk on either front, requiring as it does, dedication to the value of art generally, and to the value of the art produced by our members specifically. This takes hard work and commitment.
That having been said, I want to welcome the two new Board members, Richard Christian and Gary Wolfe. Richard graciously submitted his name for Recording Secretary and the Board elected him. Gary, our former president, has stepped up to the plate to fill a huge need, that of Chairman of Communications, which will handle all internal and external publicity and marketing. This is one of the most vital components of a successful organization.
Also, Bill Maggio has been elected Treasurer. I look forward to working with him as we continue to seek new and inventive ways to keep ourselves solvent, and our finances clean and manageable. Our thanks to Helen Russell for the fine job she did as treasurer over the past four years.
I want likewise to express my gratitude to former Board members Stephan Houseknecht and Nancy Cerny. Both rendered excellent service to the BSA and are sorely missed. You might remember last year, both were instrumental in helping to raise funds for our organization. Beyond that, they gave very solid service in helping us navigate the growth spurt we experienced over the past few years.
Speaking of growth spurt: our collaboration with the Burchfield-Penney on two major projects is running quite well. In December, Larry Kinney added to our Video Archive Project by recording interviews with David Pratt (conducted by Victor Shanchuk) and Jeanette Blair (conducted by Doreen Cutting), bringing the total to three so far, with perhaps another dozen over the next year. Folks, I think this is one extraordinarily defining endeavor. It may take a couple of years to full blossom, with the post-production work that has to be done, but when these interviews finally appear on the screens of the Burchfield-Penney, this project will be a major triumph for our BSA. We will have done a major service to our region’s arts community.
Likewise, the upcoming all day seminar on estate planning for artists, aptly titled Where Does the Art Go When the Artist is Gone?, scheduled for April 24 at the BPAC is going to be a blockbuster. Rita Argen Auerbach’s pet project has been superbly managed by Helen Russell, who has been doing the lion (-ess)’s share of work in pulling together experts from the field of art estate planning—lawyers, appraisers, auctioneers, et al--who will present cautionary tales of what can go wrong if one doesn’t make plans for the sale or gifting of one’s art, discuss tax liabilities, and present solutions ranging from cataloguing to forming foundations to arranging auctions. It is geared for artists of all levels, including early-emergent artists (because hey, you never know). Admission is free, but one will need to get tickets for the event, since seating in the BPAC auditorium is limited.
Our program of exhibitions is humming along, as usual, thanks to the excellent work done by Vice President/Exhibition chair Beth Pedersen and her committee.
Our upcoming spring show, the Thumb Box exhibition at Partners-in-Art, didn’t have the usual eighty to ninety artists vying for wall space, and I think it’s most likely for one of two reasons: one, because not everyone is completely used to jurying by digital uploads; and two, because many of our artists don’t work small.
To the former, I want to assure all members that if uploading is a problem, there’s plenty of help. Simply read the prospectus, and contact the people who are offering their help. Like it or not, it’s the wave of the future, just as jurying by slides was thirty-some years ago. Everyone is going digital now. If you doubt this, check the exhibitions listings in the national and international art periodicals.
To the latter, all I can say is, we try things; sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t--and sometimes they work for many, but not all of us. This promises to be a fine exhibition, and I think it’s important from time to time to break out of the usual mode of making and presenting our art, to challenge ourselves. I invite all members to attend the opening reception, and get inspired by what wonderful things come in small packages.
Ad Hoc Chair Paula Sciuk has done an outstanding job of putting this show together, attending to the details that demand just as much love and care as any ‘normal’ exhibition. Thank you, Paula.
Our Catalogue Exhibition, as you may know by now, is going to come early this year (there’s nothing that says it has to be in the fall). That’s because we have to take the venues when they are available, and the Castellani is a major venue. I’m hoping we’ll see a ton of submissions for this one.
Our Membership Chair, Patti Harris, reports that our membership stands at about 250. Every year at this time, the daunting task of contacting all members to re-up takes place, with reminders for those who place BSA letters somewhere where they can’t be found for, oh, two to three months. I am grateful to have a chair who is more than equal to the task.
Other items: our Studio Visits program has been…variously successful-- sometimes ten or twenty show up; sometimes three or four. People, this is a great program. Don’t be afraid to fill a space. What’s the worst that can happen? Too many people show up to learn one of our artist’s techniques? I urge everyone to read the listings and make that call. It’s free, which is cheaper than a movie, and quite educational.
Next, we need a Fundraising (for lack of a better word, and besides, it’s fashionable these days) Czar. Our treasury is fairly healthy. Last year’s fundraisers brought in about four thousand dollars, or about half of the cost of our website. We need to challenge ourselves to make up the rest of the difference this year. To this end, an art auction is on the planning board, with Andy Russell and Patti Harris working on the details, but we need more input.
And finally, this will be the last print newsletter that will be mailed to our entire membership. Those who filled out the forms in the last newsletter will still get print newsletters; the rest of us will be getting all our news and announcements through our website. If you neglected to fill out a form and want to receive a print newsletter, contact Gary Wolfe and get on the list.
The face of the BSA is changing and some of these changes—i.e., the ones involving the use of the Internet and our website have been less than incremental. Some may say jarring. But these have been necessary. I urge all of you to give it time; work with it; let it work for you. Eventually it will become as much a part of your life as CD players, iPods, HD-TV, and airport searches. Happy New Year!