MEMBERSHIP MEETING SUMMATION

Ann Arbor, MI
July 23, 2000


The third annual general membership meeting of the NAIA was held on July 23, 2000 at the New Center Conference Room, 1100 North Main Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan. President called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. Members present numbered between fifty and sixty.

WELCOME. Larry began with a welcome to everyone, followed by an introduction of the NAIA board members present: (Chair of the Board), , Dale Rayburn, , , and . Introductions of show directors and show representatives followed.

NAIA BOARD STRUCTURE. Larry described the structure of the NAIA as board-driven. He explained that members involvement is critical to our organization. Members input guides the board of directors in the formation of policies. He encouraged members to make their opinions known to the board members, and to communicate their views through town meetings and through the NAIA artists survey.

He acknowledged Bill Charneys contribution to the formulation of the NAIA structure during the initial stages, and his fine-tuning seminar with the Board of Directors last October. During this intensive session, the Board reviewed the NAIA operational methodology, based on the Carver Model of board governance, and redefined the ENDS for the organization. The board of directors is charged to see the big picture when establishing the major goals and policies of the organization. The President/CEO is charged with implementing these policies.

INCREASING MEMBERSHIP INVOLVEMENT. A primary NAIA objective is to raise the level of membership involvement. One method for members to get more involved is to participate in the town meetings held at selected show sites. A second method is to serve as a category advisor. A third method is for members to write articles for the newsletter and to complete the NAIA artists survey.

NAIAS INVOLVEMENT WITH SHOW DIRECTORS. Larry explained the NAIA philosophy of working constructively with show directors to strengthen the art show industry. He described the mutually dependent and mutually beneficial relationship between festival directors and artists.

Directors Conference. Larry reviewed many of the topics discussed at the Directors Conference held in Orlando following the Winter Park show in March, 2000. A professional facilitator was utilized at this conference to help promote open discussion between directors and artists, and to encourage their candid collaboration. Two show directors in the audience who had attended the Orlando conference expressed their high regard for the Directors Conference. One said, “The conference was one of the best things I have attended.” Another said the conference provided a valuable link with other show directors.

Members were encouraged to view the conference summary posted on the NAIA website. This comprehensive summary provides a detailed look at the topics and the exchange of ideas that occurred.

NAIA Presentation at the IFEA Convention. The NAIA has again been invited to present topics at the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) Convention in New Orleans in September, 2000. He explained that one subject for discussion at the convention will be the jury process. Shary Brown, executive director of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, commented on the strong benefits of past NAIA presentations at the IFEA, and on the importance of educating show directors regarding current artistic issues.

REPORT FROM THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE. Board Chair, Bob Briscoe, named the five board members on the 2000 Nominating Committee: Celeste Simon, Woody Jones, Banister Pope, Pamela Hill and Bob Briscoe. Bob reported that the Nominating Committee has not yet determined the 2000 slate of board nominees, and he apologized for the delay. He said that the slate will be determined shortly, and that the membership will be informed of the new board members through the Newsletter or through a special mailing. He asked any members who are interested in serving on the boad to contact him or other members of the committee immediately.

RECOGNITION OF DEPARTING BOARD MEMBERS. Special recognition was given to the five departing board members: Banister Pope, Celeste Simon, Dale Rayburn, Jody dePew McLeane and Aletha Jones. Both Bob and Larry thanked these board members, and acknowledged their contributions to NAIA.

MEMBER BENEFITS. Gordon Bruno reported recent developments regarding hotel and canopy discounts for NAIA members. The Red Roof Inn has agreed to offer NAIA members a 15% discount on hotel rates. The Show Off canopy company has also offered to give NAIA members a 10% discount on canopy products. Gordon explained that some confusion has resulted regarding member discounts from Newtons Display Products (the Craft Hut manufacturers). Currently, they are offering a 10% discount only on accessory items.

EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS IN PUBLIC RELATIONS. Celeste Simon discussed the idea of educating the public through a public relations campaign that focuses on the value of art. She gave examples of several promotional slogans that could be used for this purpose, such as “Art, just for the Beauty of it,” or “Will work for art” Celeste also spoke about partnering these efforts with specific show sponsors to create local campaigns. She asked for slogan ideas as well as visuals that could be included in this publicity campaign focusing on the value of art. She also suggested that artists become actively involved in public relations efforts to promote street artists as professional artists.

THE ANN ARBOR STREET ART FAIR DISCUSSION. Recent tensions have formed between the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair and the South University Merchants Association, two groups who had teamed together for many years as productive partners. This strained relationship was used as a springboard for discussion regarding NAIAs goal to strengthen the art fair industry.

Larry opened the discussion by encouraging members to view this Ann Arbor situation as a specific example of the ‘bigger picture, and the NAIA goal to help top-quality art fairs continue and thrive. He briefly summarized the history of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair and its long partnership with the South University Merchants Association. He reported that the two groups have come to an impasse over the issues of money and control. The Merchants Association is now wanting more money and more control.

Shary Brown, Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, described the three elements required for the AASAF to thrive:

  1. The artists who participate in the show
  2. The audience who attends the show
  3. The organization that produces the show

Shary explained that the AASAF will face major decisions in August, 2000 regarding the show location for 2001. She described the unique relationship of the three Ann Arbor Art Fairs, each filling a specific niche in the community. She added that a change in one will radically alter the entire scene, and all the fairs will be affected. Susan Froelich, former director for the AASAF for twelve years, provided historical highlights of the partnership between the AASAF and the South University Merchants Association.

During this discussion, several members asked the following question: What constructive measures can we as individual artists take to help ensure the future of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair? The following responses were given:

  • Artists familiar with the AASAF can offer a national perspective on the critical importance of this show. They were encouraged to write letters expressing this national perspective to decision-makers.
  • Artists were encouraged to contact people on their Ann Arbor mailing lists to solicit their active support of the AASAF. It was suggested that local customers might carry more persuasive power with decision-makers.
  • Local Ann Arbor artists were encouraged to get involved with city council members.
  • Artists were encouraged to conduct all communications in a professional, as well as in a timely manner.
  • Because the city council is in the powerful position of granting the art fair street permits, the more persuasive the case presented by artists and community citizens, the better.

Several members asked to be apprised of the AASAF situation through a reliable communication source such as the NAIA website. (Editors Note: Some updates on the AASAF situation have been posted on the NAIA Members Open Forum.)

NAIA VIRTUAL ART SHOW. Larry reported on discussions with a .com company regarding the possibility of a NAIA Virtual Art Show. Artists would submit digitally scanned slides, and the .com company would retain a percentage from all sales.

Discussion followed. Concerns were raised regarding the practicality of selling one-of-a-kind work on line, and the viability of selling visual art when it is not seen first-hand. Several members expressed interest in learning more about this new possibility of marketing their work. Larry will continue to investigate the possibility of a NAIA Virtual Art Show.

OTHER ALTERNATIVE VENUES. Pamela Hill has been exploring possible ways to include fine art participants in the craft show venue. Several members present expressed interest in exploring indoor show options for fine-art participants. The question was asked whether craft persons would want to have fine artists included in these indoor venues.

OPEN DISCUSSION OF MEMBERS CONCERNS. The following topics were discussed as individual members expressed specific concerns:

Artists Forum. One artist expressed the desire to see more members become active in the forum dialogue. The discussion can be wide-ranging, from active philosophical exchanges to nuts and bolts practical information.

Promoting Street Artists As Professionals. One artist expressed concerns that street artists are not perceived as professionals. Several suggestions followed, including: handing out resumes that list professional achievements; providing biographical information to show directors in advance for publicity purposes; and informing show directors when participating artists are featured in nearby museum or gallery shows. One member suggested that we must claim the power of the dignity of showing our work on the street.

Invitation to Art Critics. One member suggested that local art critics be invited to attend the jurying sessions, as well as the show itself, to gain insight regarding the art fairs.

Guidelines for Publicity Articles. One members suggested that guidelines to help artists write promotional articles for newspaper consideration would be helpful. Another member commented that the drafting of such guidelines might be a good topic for the Directors Conference.

Criteria for NAIA Goal Development. One artist asked what specific criteria the NAIA board utilizes to examine particular issues or establish its goals. This criteria was addressed briefly, but the discussion was shortened due to time constraints. Editors note: A checklist of questions the board of directors utilizes when considering its ENDS policies follows:

  1. Ask what benefit do we want?
  2. Is it within NAIAs span of control?
  3. Is it realistic, given our existing or future potential resources?
  4. Is it measurable?
  5. Is it needed?
  6. Is it acceptable or desired by the members?
  7. Should this be one of the boards top concerns?

Booth Sprawl. One artist commented on the tendency for some artists to sprawl their

booths to the maximum size wherever possible, and sometimes even when impossible. Even when shows permit twelve-foot booth spaces to allow for extra space surrounding the booths, there are those artists who push their displays to the very limit, and sometimes over their boundaries to crowd neighbors booths. This artist encouraged show directors to enforce their space restrictions and not allow booth sprawl to occur.

Mentoring Smaller Shows. One artist mentioned that small shows often have good ideas or policies that are sometimes overlooked by larger shows. It was mentioned that the Directors Conference in Orlando included representatives from small as well as national shows, and that the exchange of ideas benefited all participants. One show director mentioned that one of her goals is to mentor smaller shows by giving of her time, her energies and her advice. She viewed the art fair industry as more collaborative than competitive, where everyone benefits from the open exchange of ideas.

ADJOURNMENT. Larry expressed his appreciation to everyone for attending and adjourned the meeting at 1:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

NAIA Board Secretary

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