I’ll open this message by announcing the loss of one of our truly vital members, a real life-force, the scintillating, superbly talented, Priscilla Bowen, who passed away peacefully on September third after a six month long battle with lung cancer. She will be greatly missed, both for her art as well as her presence at art openings. Thank you, Priscilla, for the joy you brought so many of us.
Onto more mundane matters. The 119th annual Catalogue Exhibition is chosen, the catalogue is being assembled, the show will soon be hung at the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT), and the winners are...you’ll have to wait until the opening ceremony to find out.
Ninety-five artworks. No size restrictions. Quite a challenge to put this together in some cohesive way but three heroes I need to cite in particular are Board member Beth Pedersen, Vice President Cindi O’Mara, and Board member Patti Harris. They had the skills and experience to make this thing work. The supporting cast, which will by the opening be too many to name, deserve our gratitude, too, but I will mention Gary Wolfe, who more or less pioneered this growing relationship with BCAT; Laura Hopkins at BCAT for being more than open and inviting to the BSA; Justin Dahl for being the initial point person for the Catalogue exhibition; and Elaine Martynkiewicz for providing the catering for the event.
Next, our annual dinner at the 20th Century Club. I want to thank Recording Secretary Nancy Mariani for making all the arrangements. This promises to be a class affair without prohibitive prices.
After casting about for a keynote speaker, Beth (again) scored Charles Clough. And speaking of Mr. Clough and Ms. Pedersen, we will also be showing the video interviews she did with both him and Todd Chalk at the dinner. We will also be voting on new members of the Board to replace the outgoing Deborah Stewart and Sara Zak.
Next, this announcement: after years of going back and forth on this issue, after exhaustive work by Beth in finding the right tax accountant and lawyer specializing in Not-For-Profits, after numerous meetings and much discussion of the pros and cons, the Board voted to move forward in attaining our 501(c) (3) Federal Not-for Profit status. In weighing this momentous decision, we discovered that the change might not be as momentous as the naysayers have said. Yes, there will be a little more paperwork. That will be handled largely by our attorney and/or accountant.
On the plus side, we will be able to accept tax-deductible donations from individuals, companies, and pass-through agencies. This will be good for our Video Archive Project, which is currently running low on funding. Had we done this years ago, we would not have had to pay some five thousand dollars in taxes on money brought in by the Eye Candy fundraisers. One great voice of experience in these matters, Sally Treanor, told tale of the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, a nomadic arts group similar in structure to our own, which went Not-for-Profit years ago. The members, she said, barely noticed a blip on the radar after the changeover. What this means is that even if we seldom use our tax-free status, say for grants, it will be there should we choose to develop educational or cultural programs far beyond what we have now. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Board members, ex-presidents, and Trustees who worked on investigating and resolving this issue.
Finally, 2016 is going to be a great year to be a member. We are looking forward to an exciting 125th anniversary, with numerous exhibitions planned all over Western New York; a picnic at BSA Trustee Sharon Osgood’s home and grounds on Grand Island (not to be missed!) in May or June; a Beaux-Arts Ball at the hotel Lafayette in August (stay tuned for more news on this); and perhaps some seminars, lectures, and demonstrations. We’re talking about adding another International Poetry Festival (our third). We are going to have commemorative pins, bookmarks, and other goodies to mark this anniversary.
George Grace, President