May 2010 BSA Newsletter (PDF)
I hate to start my message with a complaint, but at the Spring Meeting at the Burchfield Penney Art Center we navigated our agenda with the usual suspects—you know, those who feel that it’s important to play a vital role in shaping the BSA. Though I never get tired of seeing the same faces (because they’re all very nice people), it would be nice to see some new ones—future carriers of the flame, so to speak. Yes, people have lives outside of this organization; there are members on our Board and serving on committees who might have gone five, six, ten years off the radar, who decided it was time to get involved, and there are members right now who will have better times to jump in than now. Were it not for this ongoing flow of new blood, this organization would not have endured as long as it has. And while I am heartened by the level of volunteerism, some of our members serving on several committees at once--we do need people to step up to the plate, even to do spot duty; or at least to attend our general meetings to weigh in on the business of the Buffalo Society of Artists.
One item in particular on the Spring Meeting’s agenda that may have been of great use to many of our members was Gary Wolfe’s demonstration of navigating our website and uploading images. Speaking of which, if you haven’t put an image and artist’s statement on our website, please do so. Our last appeal added five or so. This is not sufficient. Between now and December, we will nag you. If by January you do not participate, even though you will still be exhibiting members, your name will be taken off the site’s listing until such time as you choose to post an image and statement. If you need help, contact Gary Wolfe or Jennifer Kursten.
Though we should all be heartened by last year’s fundraising efforts, we still need to raise about three thousand dollars more to replenish what we spent primarily on our website and to bring our reserves back to our 2006 level. This month, our Budget Committee will be meeting with our Trustees to address this issue - more on this later.
The seminar entitled, “Where Does The Art Go When The Artist Is Gone?” was great, from conception to execution. At about eighty people, the turnout was decent, and the information tendered nothing short of vital to we who are serious emerging and fully professional artists. We are planning more professional development seminars in conjunction with the BPAC. Stay tuned.
The Catalogue Show opening at the Castellani was heavily attended—about two hundred people, a great turnout for a show in Niagara Falls. At this opening, one guest suggested that at the very least our chosen exhibitors should wear nametags so she could connect the artwork to its creator. This is a good idea, as it would help our viewing public get to know us better, and it might even help sell works. Many thanks to Jim Minneci
Contrary to fears that New York State funding cuts might force Artpark to close, that is not going to happen this year thanks to the superb direction and guidance of George Osborne. Artpark has an excellent season planned, that will draw crowds as usual, which means potential sales at our gallery there. In keeping with our philosophy of bringing arts education to the public, we will be conducting several gallery talks and demonstrations that you will not want to miss. As you may know by now, there have been some changes in the prospectus. Please read it carefully.
Circle June 14, 2010 on your calendar, the drop off date for the open members show at the Carnegie. I am hoping to see every member bring an artwork, since it is open to all members, Associate and Exhibiting. Everyone who participates gets one spot on the wall - no jurying. Again, read the prospectus for that show.
We hope with our Video Archive Project to add another half dozen artists and videotape several BSA arts events by the end of the year. We are looking for volunteers who either know how to use a videocam or are willing to learn, and would like to give a little bit of time to this important project.
Next, as you might have heard, with the Arts Council of Buffalo and Erie County losing its ability to effectively advocate for local arts organizations, a new grassroots group known as the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance, came together in March to discuss strategies for helping arts and cultural organizations to speak “with one voice” to local and State governments with regard to the arts and arts funding. Although the BSA is financially self-sufficient, we in the arts have every reason to be indignant, to say the least, over the way our local governments treat one of Western New York’s most valuable assets, parsing out funding as if we’re taking food from their children’s mouths. It seems that political leaders in the Buffalo and Erie County don’t realize the richness both culturally and economically that our artistic assets bring to this area and its quality of life. The Greater Buffalo arts community shines in an area where the greatest export is money. Local artists represent hundreds of cottage industries, bringing significant dollars into our region. If you factor in the families and friends of the arts community, we are talking about tens of thousands of people - quite a voting block. Something to think about the next time we are asked for our support.
Finally, we have gone for some time without an updated Mission Statement—one that clearly and concisely defines what the Buffalo Society of Artists is all about. Yes, the organization’s Constitution and By-Laws state our Purpose, but this is not a Mission Statement – a carefully worded explanation of both the reason for an organization’s existence and what it hopes to achieve through its operations. The problem is, though we’ve all have some vague idea of what the BSA is about, actually getting it into words in a way that distinguishes it from other arts organizations, in language that guides all future Boards and members, while inspiring fundraising, satisfying grantors, and pleasing legal eagles—that’s the tricky part. It’s the Mission Statement that informs everything the organization does, and the direction it moves, from programming and education to branding and publicity. It helps Boards plot the trajectory of our budget and fundraising efforts. We are hoping to provide this by the Annual Membership meeting. To do so, between now and then, we will be conducting an open meeting for members to share their ideas and help us hammer out the language. Look for announcements in upcoming newsletters—and by all means, participate!