The Buffalo Society of Artists has begun a new era. At the Spring Members meeting on Thursday May 25th Beth Pedersen formally announced that we are now officially a Not For Profit or Public Charity. We thank Beth for working through this challenging application process. Beth has spent several years researching, developing, writing, and working with the membership, the non-profit lawyer and many consultants. The application was submitted in March of this year and we received formal notification of our new status in mid-May. Thanks to Beth and her due diligence, BSA received this status quickly! (For a slightly more detailed explanation of the process, make sure to read Beth’s article on page 4. – ed.)
What does this status mean for our organization? It means that sponsors and supporters will be able to deduct their contributions. Plus, BSA will be able to apply for grants to fund our many projects. As easy as this may sound, there are many things that need to be addressed so that that we are in compliance with the Not for Profit standards. A Transition Team has been formed to plan and implement these changes. Over the coming months you will receive notifications regarding the team’s progress.
The Transition Team is already hard at work. The team consists of Beth Pedersen, Gary L. Wolfe, Frani Evedon, Nancy Mariani, Judy Hodge, Tim Brooks, Lynn Northrop and me…members who understand BSA History, the changes that need to be implemented, who have experience with not for profits, have an understanding of technology, and have many talents and experiences that will add to the Transition Plan.
The Transition Team has begun its review. A Mission Statement that will define who and what we are is currently being developed. A budget process and bookkeeping procedure is currently being developed and much of our written documents will need to be studied and modified. This process has been quite interesting. Conversations have led to many ideas and directions. But thanks to this group’s intuition and guidance, we move forward. We intend to finalize the mission statement this month. We then will move on to revamping our correspondence, record keeping, the website, postcards, and exhibition information, just to name a few of the required changes.
There were some important modifications to the website. At the Spring Members Meeting, Frani Evedon demonstrated those changes. The Education button lists Events, Lectures and Studio Visits. The Exhibitions button lists Current BSA Exhibitions, Upcoming BSA Exhibitions, Past BSA Exhibitions and Open Calls for Work. The Open Calls for Work will list any calls for work about which we receive information. This is also a great opportunity for members to share information about upcoming calls and exhibition submissions. I invite all members to visit the website to keep informed and to share information regarding calls for work, accomplishments, and news about our activities. The more information that is shared will help develop BSA' s community interaction. (see article on sharing information on page 6 – ed)
Also at the Spring Meeting, Len Kagelmacher introduced the History Book Project. As we entered our 126th year we found that we were missing about 20 years of BSA history in written form. Russel Ram, who produced the first history book for BSA and George Grace, past president, artist and writer are joining Len to rewrite the previous account and to develop a new written history. This mission could not be in more excellent hands! As this project advances, it is becoming more apparent how the BSA history is linked to Buffalo’s history. This team is unearthing some interesting information and promises to give us some exciting teasers as they progress. Updates will be seen through our usual means of communication. I advise all to stay tuned. (see Len’s article on this exciting new project on this page)
There will be many changes for the BSA. New and exciting activities are planned for our membership. There will be many new professional development opportunities which will include events such as resume writing, sharing methods and techniques, discussion groups and collaborations with other organizations. I see all of this as ways to meet each other and share our talents and ideas.
By becoming familiar with and working with other arts organizations, BSA will establish a strong connection with the Buffalo community arts and artists. Soon we will be working with Emerging Leaders of Arts in Buffalo (ELAB) on an interactive project. Plans are now being developed for a pop-up exhibition with El Museo. The Buffalo community has a wealth of talent on all levels of interests and skills. Connecting with other artists and arts organizations will increase our visibility in this community.
As we move into our next era, our wealth of experience and expertise will connect us to others outside the BSA community and will be an asset that will lead us on to much greater goals.
In the next stages of the transition to a non-profit, the direction the BSA will take will not be so different. There still will be our regular exhibitions, with a possibility of more opportunities to display our work. Educational opportunities will be planned and implemented to help us fine tune our professional abilities. There will be opportunities to connect with and learn about arts in Buffalo and Western New York. The Video Archive Project will continue to highlight exceptional artists in Buffalo.
The Buffalo Society of Artists will continue to improve as our new direction solidifies our reputation as a strong voice for the arts in Buffalo.