NAIA’s Town Hall Meetings typically include discussions about the NAIA’s goals, the art festival venue in general, and sometimes specific issues relating to the host show. These meetings, open to all, are a great way for members and nonmembers to learn more about our organization, and to provide their input directly to NAIA staff and board members. We hope to add meeting reports as they become available so check back!

In 2004, NAIA Town Hall Meetings were conducted at the following shows:

Coconut Grove Art Festival
Frederick Festival of Arts
Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival (Reston)
Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival
Boston Mills Artfest (weekend 2)
Sun Valley Art Festival
Mammoth Lakes Art Festival (California)
Peoria Art Festival
Dunedin Art Harvest

Attendance was generally 30 to 50 artists for each meeting.

While meetings sometimes allowed for discussion of issues associated to individual shows and suggestions and questions from the membership and nonmembers alike, general topics covered:

The 2004 Artist Conference in Lake Worth, Florida

The 2004 Director Conference in Kansas City

Installation of our first paid Executive Director, Ardath Perendergast (former director of the Atlanta Arts Festival, Artscape and consultant to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh).

The new online application process (ZAPP), which became effective in September 2004.

Here’s a typical Town Hall Meeting:

Longs Park Town Hall Meeting – September 2, 2002

NAIA Board members present:
Jon Hecker, Pamela Hill, RB Nugent, Mitch Lyons

Past board members present:
Rick Foris, Dale Rayburn, Kathleen Eaton

Attendance: about 80 people

Rick Foris called the meeting to order, introduced himself, gave a brief history of the NAIA and its mission, and introduced the current board members present. Rick did a thorough job at explaining who the NAIA is and how we act as a liaison between artists and art festivals.

Next, some of the NAIA’s current accomplishments and benefits were discussed:

1. Artist Conference. We briefly discussed the location and time schedule for this event, as well as possible workshops, seminars, etc.

2. New Benefits. Pamela Hill noted that the Comfort Suites (as well as their other brands) have offered a substantial 20% discount off their rates specifically for non-profit organizations. In addition to the current roster of discounts members are eligible for, this new accommodations discount is just one more significant benefit for members in the NAIA.

3. Show Improvements. Several key areas of improvements were noted as a result of the NAIA’s involvement with art festivals.

a. The Austin Arts Festival will no longer have its auction (which required a mandatory donation from all participating artists). One artist attending the meeting questioned how this change was effected. Our reply was that through ongoing dialog with the event directors, we presented enough evidence in favor of making this change.

b. The Bethesda Row festival show in Maryland has dropped its requirement for all applicants to provide their social security number on the application. The SSN issue has had heavy discussion in recent years, and the NAIA’s discussions with this show to drop the SSN requirement is good news. More shows are starting to take note of this and we hope to see more changes like this in the future.

4. The NAIA Director Conference. This annual conference was mentioned, including how valuable it is in allowing directors to network with each other, and gather in a setting with the NAIA for an open and positive exchange. It was noted that the NAIA even has a password protected Director Forum on its website, allowing director the opportunity to exchange information.

5. New Show Development. A brief discussion ensued about upcoming shows. There has been steady dialog about a new show being developed in Nashville, TN. Pamela mentioned the Los Angeles County Art Museum working on a new show, which may be a craft only event. There was discussion about the need for a 2-D event in Philadelphia. As craft is very predominant in the eastern market, it would be good to see development of a quality 2-D venue. Philadelphia seemed to be the choice for many.

Several other issues were briefly discussed in the time allotted for the meeting.

Conclusion The meeting lasted for 45 minutes and the attendance was very steady throughout. It was met with great enthusiasm from those attending and all present felt is was a very positive public relations event.

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