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"The Independent Artist"
Issue VII, Spring 2010

The Independent Artist

A Letter from the NAIA Board Chair

2010 is the beginning of a new year as well as an exciting new decade for NAIA. For the first time in the history of the organization we have a board of directors comprised of members representing each membership group who contribute to our organization. It is our goal to gain a better understanding of all aspects of the art show industry so that we may more effectively advocate for our membership. The election of this new board is a step toward that goal.

First, I would like to introduce you the 2010 Board of Directors. Exhibiting artists are our largest membership category and the founders of the organization. Representing this category are Teresa Saborsky, sculptor, Goshen, Kentucky; Holly Olinger, mixed media, Charlottesville, Virginia; and Lois Songer, jeweler, Key West, Florida. In addition to being an exhibiting artist, Lois is also the director of the Key West Craft Show and Old Island Days Arts Festival.

Supporters include patrons, educators, students, retired artists, and other individuals interested in supporting the art show artists and shows. Representing this category is civil rights advocate Richard Lobenthal of West Bloomfield, Michigan, who brings his wealth of professional experience to our Board of Directors.

Finally, Contributors are those who provide services to artists. These members include shows, publications, credit card processing companies, and suppliers. Our first board members to represent this category are Stephen King of Des Moines, Iowa, director of the Des Moines Art Festival and Lisa Konikow of Bloomfield Township, Michigan, director of Arts, Beats, and Eats.

At our first Retreat/Board of Directors meeting, we looked at the present state of the art how industry and at NAIA, with an eye as to how we could best meet the needs of our membership. Our new board members provide new opportunities to enable a greater understanding of our industry, inform and educate our members, and provide information as to many aspects of art shows as well as exploring other avenues of marketing.

We have identified five basic pillars on which we plan to build for the future.

1. Analysis and Assessment of Art Show
For quite some time weve had member reviews on our forum. Most of us know that there are also reviews by other sources, but there is a lack of information from the shows themselves. We have recently set up a section on our forum called ACCESS in which show directors will describe their shows from their own perspective. Its not an advertisement, not a review by someone else, nor is it a PR writeup to draw people in to a show. Its a director talking about his or her show, what they are, their goals, their vision. The unique aspect of ACCESS is that you are able to read what the director has written and ask questions. Its a forum discussion, open for a given amount of time, in which you have the opportunity to get to know the director and the show. We hope that this will demystify much about shows and offer artists the opportunity to know a show so they can make more informed decisions as to whether the show is a good fit for them and vice versa.

2. Marketing
In this day and age of slow economy, many of us have had to learn to think outside the box. Were facing the necessity of looking at marketing from different perspectives. What are some of the opportunities that are out there? How can we streamline our businesses? We will have guest experts from several fields of possible interest available to give talks on our forum. Guests will have access to our forum for a month to have discussions and answer questions from our members.

3. Advocacy
Large strides have been made in this organization in its 14 years of existence. In spite of that, many issues still exist. New problems arise daily and monthly as technology advances, helping in many way, yet also raising questions as well. NAIA will continue to look at issues brought forth by its members and work to resolve them in the best way possible for all parties. We have enjoyed a good relationship with many shows in the past, but that now takes on a new dimension as we now have members on our Board of Directors who can help pave the way toward greater understanding and more effective resolutions.

4. Bridge between Show Directors and Artists
Too often there are large gaps in the elements of our industry. Show directors depend on artists to make their shows and artists depend on shows to provide a venue for their art. We need each other, yet sometimes there are great gaps in communication. NAIA is dedicated to closing these gaps. Were beginning by the use of our Forum and will extend that through the use of educational programs and other means of outreach we have on the drawing boards.

5. Premiere resource for members
In this age of mass and instant communication through the internet and other forms of social networking, there is a vast amount of information to be had. Sometimes, though, that leads to overload. Where does one begin to look for information? Well, for those in the art show industry, you will have NAIA. We are building an effective network by which you can have your questions answered whether you are an artist, or connected with a show, have a product to sell, or a school who wants to help students know how they can make art a valid career choice. NAIA is working toward being the go to source for the art show industry.


Are these lofty goals? Of course they are, but these are exciting times that call for lofty goals. We are making transitions that will help improve our industry nation wide, no matter what role you play. Art shows are unique phenomena and much loved by communities. The art show artist is a unique part of Americana, our home grown talent, creativity, and craftsmanship to be treasured and celebrated in this time of manufacturing and outsourcing. One cant outsource talent nor can one duplicate the singular, distinct character a community art show. As is written in our mission statement, NAIA is dedicated to strengthening, improving and promoting the artistic, professional and economic success of artists who exhibit in art shows. We are committed to integrity, creativity, and the pursuit of excellence and we advocate for the highest ideals and practices within all aspects of the art show environment.

If you are not a member of NAIA, we invite you to join us and be a part of the future of the art show industry. If you are presently a member, be sure to read update blasts on our activity and, most importantly, check with the forum regularly for new discussions and information.

Teresa Saborsky, NAIA Board of Directors, Chairman











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