NAIA GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING SUMMATION
Ann Arbor Art Fairs
July 25, 1999
Ann Arbor, Michigan
The second annual general membership meeting of the NAIA was held on July 25, 1999 at the New Center Conference Room, 1100 North Main Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan. President Larry Oliverson called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. Members present numbered between fifty-five and sixty-five.
WELCOME. Larry began with a welcome to those present, followed by an introduction of the NAIA board members: , , , , , , , , , and . An introduction of shows directors and show representatives followed.
NAIA BOARD STRUCTURE. Larry briefly explained the structure of the NAIA as board-driven, not dependent on any single individual. He acknowledged Bill Charneys contribution to the formulation of the NAIA structure during the initial stages, and the adoption of the Carver model of governance. The board of directors is charged to think in terms of the big picture when establishing the major goals and policies for the organization. The President/CEO is charged with implementing these policies.
Larry discussed the unique nature of our organization due to our geographically dispersed membership. This makes the taking of votes from our membership on every issue too cumbersome to be practical. However he stressed that input from our members is critical to our organization. This input guides our board of directors in the formulation of policies. He encouraged members to make their opinions known to the board members, and to respond to the NAIA artists survey.
NOMINATION TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
Board Chair Bob Briscoe commented further on the structure of the board. He named the five members of the board who served on the 1999 Nominating Committee: Bob Briscoe, Celeste Simon, Jody dePew McLeane, Kathleen Eaton and Aletha Jones. The Nominating Committee selected a slate of five candidates to fill board vacancies from a pool of thirty-one names (some in this pool were self-nominated and others were nominated by fellow NAIA members or other board members). He described the criteria used for selection by the nominating committee, including gender balance, geographic diversity, media, and the ability to consider issues beyond their personal career. This slate of five candidates was then presented to the entire board for approval. Bob announced that the board accepted the following slate of candidates for two-year terms beginning September 1, 1999: (wood) Boise, ID (Michael was currently filling out the term of a board member who resigned last year); (fiber) Mokelumne Hill, CA; (ceramics) Amherst Junction, WI; (ceramics) Lake Worth, FL; and (wood) Decatur, GA. Bob explained the decision to bring more balance to the board between fine art and fine craft.
RECOGNITION OF DEPARTING BOARD MEMBERS.
Bob extended a special thank you to the four departing board members: Gordon Bruno, Lynn Krause, Kathleen Eaton and Ginny Herzog. Lynn and Gordon were given special recognition for sowing the original seeds for the NAIA organization. Larry also thanked the four departing board members, and acknowledged their invaluable contributions to NAIA.
BROADENING THE BASE OF MEMBERSHIP INVOLVEMENT.
Larry explained that one primary objective of NAIA is to broaden the base of membership involvement. He explained a number of methods to accomplish this goal, including:
Town Meetings. Larry described two types of town meetings, which were held during the past year at selected show sites. The first two were the NAIA-sanctioned meetings held at Coconut Grove and Winter Park (attendance approximately eighty to ninety at each meeting). At these meetings, a NAIA board member was present in case questions or issues regarding NAIA policy were raised. The second type of town meeting was a NAIA endorsed meeting, where no NAIA board member was available to moderate or answer specific questions. The moderator read an introductory letter written by the NAIA Pesident.
For the Broad Ripple show in Indianapolis, where no NAIA board member was available to moderate, a NAIA-endorsed meeting was held. Larry pointed out that members with questions or concerns regarding any aspect of NAIA should contact a board member and not feel like they must wait for a town meeting.
Expanded Staff Committees. A second way to increase member involvement is the expansion of staff committees to have non-board members serve as co-chairs and participants.
National Category Advisory Panel. The development of the National Category Advisory Panel is another method to increase members involvement. (Dale Rayburn addressed this topic more fully later in this meeting.)
Newsletter. Larry encouraged members to submit articles for the Newsletter or to talk with editor Banister Pope about other Newsletter involvements. He also encouraged members to complete the annual Artist Survey.
Web Page. Members were encouraged to take advantage of the mini web page opportunity and to check the NAIA web page and members forum.
NAIAS INVOLVEMENT WITH SHOWS DIRECTORS.
Larry explained the NAIA history of working constructively with show directors to provide information, which will hopefully result in improved shows. Our professional relations with show directors are expanding, and shows are now contacting NAIA directly for information. Larry cited several examples where board members and NAIA members are working directly with specific shows around the country.
Directors Conference. Larry mentioned the Directors Conference held in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art last January. He discussed the tandem approach of the NAIA working with show directors to solve common problems. Shary Brown, executive director of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, mentioned that the NAIA was instrumental in connecting show directors with one another through the Directors Conference. Larry explained that the NAIA has no intention to homogenize the industry and to make all shows the same, but rather to help facilitate the sharing of ideas between directors to make each show better.
NAIA Presentation at the IFEA Convention. Larry announced that the NAIA has again been invited to present topics at the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) Convention in Phoenix this September. NATIONAL CATEGORY ADVISORY PANEL. Board member Dale Rayburn explained that the primary function of the Category Advisory Panel is to serve as resource people to show directors and to other artists with specific questions regarding their category. Dale explained that several artist advisor positions have yet to be finalized, and expressed the hope that they will be filled soon. The following artists have agreed to serve as advisors for specific categories:
- Printmaking: and
- Glass: and Duncan McClellan
- Painting: Peggy Brown and
- Sculpture: Jack McLean and Mark Wallis
- Ceramics: Stephen Hill and
- Jewelry: and
- Drawing/Pastel: and
- 3-D Mixed Media: and Dwain Workman
- 2-D mixed Media: Lynn Whipple and
- Metal: and Robert Farrell
To further clarify the role of the advisors, Larry read the NAIA policy regarding their function: The Category Advisory Panel will function to educate and to serve as a resource for show directors and for the artists who participate in those shows. Their function will not be to establish policies pertinent to their media, or to have authority over other artists or to communicate positions contrary to the economic welfare or professional integrity of other artists.
The criteria used to determine the Category Advisors was outlined: 1) having the respect of other artists in their category; 2) the skills to communicate well; 3) the ability to be fair and objective; and 4) the ability to convey the policies of NAIA.
The question of why the advisors were limited to two per category was asked. The response was that this decision was intended as a positive and effective way to focus information. Show directors would know whom to contact to answer specific media questions (two were named in case one was away from home at a show).
Board member Gordon Bruno provided a brief history by citing the example of the Arts Festival of Atlanta and their use of a panel of artist advisors in specific media categories. These advisors served as resource personnel for the Festival directors. Board member Lynn Krause suggested that the advisors act a committee chair to collect information from other artists in their category. Board member Banister Pope stressed the importance of advisors having the professional respect from others in their category.
The terms for the Category Advisors were defined: There will be two advisors per media category, and they will serve staggered, two-year terms.
Board Chair Bob Briscoe pointed out that all shows are encouraged by the NAIA to establish local artist advisory panels. Both Dale and Larry encouraged all artists to get involved with shows on the local level and offer to serve as resource persons. Several members present cited specific examples of giving individual input to help shows in their areas. Larry summarized that the two advisors serve to channel information in their specific category, and to give a focal point for the information collected from artists within their category.
Several members expressed concerns regarding the possibility of advisors receiving preferential treatment from show directors. Bob explained that the advisors should not be given preferential treatment or have any influence or authority in any selection process. NAIA members and board members cited numerous examples of artists working closely with show directors to improve different aspects of specific shows. Discussion about artists serving as jurors followed. Larry pointed out that the issue of artists serving as jurors is a completely separate issue from the role of the category advisors.
Two artist advisors also expressed concerns that the perception among their peers could be that they, as advisors, would have an unfair advantage with show directors. Board member Banister Pope expressed the view that to sound a collective voice, someone must serve as the mouthpiece. He also commented that although we are very concerned about the perceptions of others, we must move forward on faith that both the advisors and the show directors will act in an impartial, professional and objective manner. Show Director Mo Dana (Des Moines Art Festival) made the point that ethical behavior should be of primary importance for all directors.
INFORMATION BETWEEN ARTISTS AND SHOW DIRECTORS.
Show Director Shary Brown (Ann Arbor Street Art Fair) made the point that at times show decisions are made because of specific community goals, and that artists should be made aware of this information. She asked about the possibility of including show directors in the NAIA governance process, and also about the establishment of an advisory committee of show directors.
Two examples were cited from members present who now sit on the boards of directors for specific shows. This provides a valuable exchange of information and insight between artists and non-artist board members.
Board member Celeste Simon commented regarding her attendance at a recent gathering of Florida art show directors. She emphasized the advantages of a continuing dialogue between artists and show directors, where the unique perspectives of each can be shared.
The Dogwood Show (Piedmont Park, Atlanta) in 1998 was cited as a positive example where a group of artists joined efforts to improve this show after the collapse of the Arts Festival of Atlanta.
Larry emphasized that the NAIA serves as a resource for shows; we do not and cannot dictate or mandate that they follow our suggestions. We present information, and each show makes the individual decision to accept or reject the information we offer. Larry said each of us is an ambassador to communicate with show directors. One member suggested that we each maintain the highest level of professionalism possible when communicating with show representatives.
One member voiced the belief that because the role of NAIA is new and undefined, there are many fears along the journey. Comments about show rejections (or unfair show acceptances) based solely on affiliation with NAIA were shared. It was made clear that under no circumstances should NAIA membership be considered a factor in an artists acceptance or rejection from a show. The point was made that only artists can effectively present the artists point of view to show representatives (even our relatives dont know exactly what we do for a living).
COMMENTS REGARDING THE JURYING PROCESS.
Bob Briscoe posed the question to show directors: How do show directors decide between applicants having identical scores? Shary Brown described the comprehensive jury system used for the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair since 1965. Several members commented on the subjective nature of any selection process. One member emphasized the importance of including the jurors names in the prospectus. It was mentioned that this is sometimes difficult for shows because of the early press deadline for printing the prospectus.
Gordon Bruno encouraged shows to establish a viewing committee who visits every artists booth each show day to make sure the exhibited work is consistent with the slides. Larry added that the NAIA is an advocate of an on-site viewing process to ensure that the slides are consistent with the work that is displayed at the show.
NEWSLETTER AND WEB PAGE.
Newsletter editor Banister Pope stressed the importance of the website as a primary means of getting information to our membership. Historically. information has first appeared in the Newsletter, then on the website. Eventually, however, the information will appear on the website first, then be edited from this format for the Newsletter publication. Banister asked for sub-editors to generate information for the website and for the Newsletter. He explained that not all the contents of the Newsletter are shared on the website because some of the information is reserved for members only, as an advantage of membership. Banister expressed gratitude to Michael Hamilton for his efforts and expertise on the website. This was followed by cheers and applause from the membership in recognition of Michaels hard work.
expressed the need for assistance in generating content for the website, with serving as coordinator. Michael is working on a self-editing members page.
One member suggested that show directors provide the names of jurors as soon as possible to be posted on the members forum or webpage for everyones information. Larry summarized by urging members to get information to Banister and to keep ideas and suggestions flowing.
ADDRESSING MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT NAIA.
Larry expressed concerns regarding certain misconceptions and rumors about NAIA. Show directors are at times incorrectly citing NAIA as the reason for certain rules. Other misconceptions exist among artists. These misconceptions will be specifically addressed in an upcoming article. The article will also outline the issues that the NAIA advocates (based on membership input).
OPEN DISCUSSION OF MEMBERS CONCERNS.
The following topics were discussed as individual members expressed specific concerns:
Inclusion of Artists on Juries. One member expressed concerns regarding jury panels comprised of all academics. Banister Pope responded that the NAIA has strongly advocated the inclusion of artists on jury panels due to the huge majority of respondents from the members survey that supported this position. He then detailed why artists make the best jurors.
Controlling Buy-Sell Vendors. Another member expressed concerns regarding vendors selling buy-sell products at shows. Larry mentioned that one topic to be addressed at the IFEA Convention later in September is the buy-sell problem, especially in the 3-D categories.
Security Concerns. This issue of overnight security for artwork was raised. One member cited an example of several artists joining together to hire a security guard to protect their artwork.
Refund Policy for Artists. In response to one members concern for refunds when double applying to shows on the same weekend, Larry reviewed NAIA recommendations that shows refund booth fees if cancellations are made in a timely manner, and that they maintain a wait-list.
The Application Contract. Board member Lynn Krause expressed concerns regarding the legal nature of the contract each artist signs as a part of the application. The employmentary nature of the contract was discussed, with both artists and show directors presenting their viewpoints. It was mentioned that a standardized universal application is under development.
Enforcement of Rules. One show director discussed the difficulty of removing an artist from a show. She explained that she needs more than rumor or innuendo that an artist is in violation of a show rule. One member also expressed concerns over unfounded rumors regarding specific artists. He urged that those artists reporting violations make sure of their accuracy first. Larry noted that some shows have expressed interest in the NAIA serving as enforcers of their rules. Rule enforcement is not the responsibility of the NAIA. Enforcement is the responsibility of each individual show.
Liability issues were raised, regarding the Hold Harmless clause in the show application. The liability question for shows if they force an artist to leave was also mentioned.
Financial Stability of NAIA. The question of the long-term financial stability for NAIA was raised. Larry explained that we have maintained a low membership fee in order to increase the number of members. We now maintain a balance of one-years operating expenses.
Slide Labeling. One artist pointed out that she approved of the simplicity of the NAIA slide-labeling format except for publication purposes. A publisher printed one of her images upside down. Several other members concurred, saying their images had also been reversed or inverted when used for publicity purposes. One artist suggested adding TOP/FRONT in the upper right hand corner of each slide.
Reproductions. One artist asked for a clarification of the NAIA position regarding reproductions. Larry explained that our position on reproductions is one of objective education. He stressed that the NAIA has no policy regarding the inclusion or exclusion of reproductions, and that shows make their own determination on this issue. The NAIA has helped and will continue to help shows no matter which side of the reproduction issue the show has chosen. However, the NAIA does advocate clear identification in order to educate the public and discourage misrepresentation.
Larry expressed his appreciation to everyone for attending and adjourned the meeting at 12:10 p.m.
NAIA Board Secretary