I begin this message with sad news: we recently lost two longtime BSA members: Kaaren Metcalf and Eddie Bisone.
Kaaren Metcal: known for her tender and very well-executed portraits, largely of her family, succumbed to complications of chemotherapy. She was ever dedicating herself to the betterment of her talents, and in one particular George Palmer workshop, she did an absolutely superb pastel portrait of my wife, Donna, which she graciously sent to us several months later. I was delighted to award her a Best of Show in the most recent Williamsville Art Society exhibition, a work clearly worth the recognition.
Eddie Bisone: for those of us who knew him from when he hung out at Art Dialogue, greeting people, what more needs be said? This prodigious talent and warm and gentle soul made me feel comfortable the moment we met and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to whom he extended such generosity of spirit.
Both were widely loved and will be missed. Our condolences to their loved ones.
The next item, related to our recent losses, is recent discussions we have had about honoring our many departed members with wholly dedicated exhibits or marquee exhibits. We will be working on proposals to make this a reality.
* * *
This is shaping up to be one of the busiest years in the Society’s history. Now at the halfway mark of our 125th year, we’ve had had one New Members reception; one Open Members Exhibition; one Catalogue Exhibition; two artists’ talks (as of this writing) at the Castellani; and four Video Archive Project showings (also at the Castellani) with the subjects (or their survivors) of most VAP presentations present to talk to the attendees.
Coming up soon, and rounding out the second half of this year: the Thumb Box Exhibition at Grace Meibohm Gallery; more educational programming (TBA); the Beaux Arts Ball at the Hotel Lafayette; a members picnic/meeting at Sharon Osgood’s
home on Grand Island; the Autumn (noncatalogue) Exhibition at the Carnegie Art Center; the Ex-Presidents’ Exhibition at Daemen College; and of course our Annual Dinner. Our Education chair, Nancy Mariani, is working hard planning presentations in conjunction with our Fall exhibition at the Carnegie. Going forward, this educational component of the BSA is going to be increasingly vital to the continued survival, growth, and relevance of this organization.
No less vital—and in fact what is proving to be the true redefining endeavor of this organization—is the Video Archive Project. Those of you who have seen it and especially those of you who took pains to drive to Niagara University to view our ‘product’ on the big screen at the Castellani Art Museum easily and to a person understands the value of what we’ve been doing, and how in the coming years, this will further cement our legacy as Western New York’s premier (indigent) visual arts organization. The feedback from both members and nonmembers alike was nothing short of the highest praise. The Castellani wants us to work with them ever more in the coming years, especially as we produce more Video Archive Project interviews, and I assured them the feeling was quite mutual: the museum’s big room is just perfect for our screenings. We as an organization owe a debt of gratitude to the individuals who made this such a resounding success: Cindi O’Mara, Beth Pedersen, and Nancy Mariani.
* * *
Which leads me to the next item of business: our quest for the 501(c)3, federal not-for-profit status. To help us, we retained a lawyer who specializes in this process. Now, you might ask, “how hard can it be? I know of a shrimp-peeling club that got its 501(c) 3 in three days. What’s the hang up?”
The problem becomes much more complicated when the organization is, as we are, 125 years old. Had we started from scratch, no problem (well, less of a problem). But there were documents—Articles of Incorporation—about as old as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which established what we were and what our mission was. These documents had to be brought up to date, and in line with what we are seeking to become, by amending those original documents. Well and good.
We also needed to bring our Constitution and By-Laws into compliance with IRS regulations for not-for-profits. This is what the June 6th meeting at the BPAC was about: the Board of Directors, asking the membership for the authority to make the required changes. The good news was that the members who came to the BPAC meeting voted 36-0 to grant us that authority.
The bad news is that it didn’t count as more than a straw vote because we didn’t have a quorum. Which means the meeting was, to put it in kind words, informal.
We had hoped, as a Board, to get this done that day. In addition to George Gilham issuing an Eflash notification, I personally called over 70 members to try to get the attendance up.
We fell short by twenty members. While I do understand that our members do have other lifeactivities they must attend to: far away art shows; heart surgeries; vacations; proctoring student exams, on the other hand, folks, some of you may have been a little overly committed to washing your hair during the meeting’s scheduled hours, or watching reruns of Gilligan’s island, if you catch my drift. Benignly unconcerned, or committed letting other members do the work.
So now, where are we? Delayed.
It will happen, most likely within the next few months, because we are going to undergo a more tedious process of getting a quorum-legal vote. But this delay hurts all of us because our marquee Video Archive Project is running out of funds and the sooner we get our 501(c) 3, the sooner we can replenish without having to pay ridiculous taxes on income which never has been used, really, to anyone’s particular benefit.
Soon you will be informed of how we will be obtaining our quorum vote. Help us help you by following the instructions, and where applicable, getting back to us in a timely manner.
George Grace, President