SGCI Executive Board Reports & Letters

Image Credit: M. Robyn Wall Process of Migration, 2019, 8″ x 20,” Silkscreen

The SGC International Board of Directors is committed to serving our membership with integrity, transparency, and dedication. In an effort to promote an air of openness and clarity, periodic updates are posted to detail current board activity. We will do our best to respond to our membership’s concerns.

LETTER TO THE MEMBERSHIP Spring 2022

Dear SGCI Members,

 I hope this message finds you all in the best of health during this new period of extended uncertainty.

The recent Omicron surge has caused disruptions to our daily lives and the U.S. economy — again! Regarding the Our Shared Future conference, SGCI is pleased to announce it will take place in Madison, Wisconsin, on March 16–19, 2022, as planned.

 In preparation for the conference, we urge all attendees to:

  1. Follow the CDC’s travel recommendations and tips to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Observe UW–Madison’s current masking protocol within campus buildings, regardless of vaccination status.
  3. Adhere to guidelines established by your hotel, lodging provider and off-campus partners
  4. Ensure you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations, and get a booster shot if you are eligible

 There are no additional restrictions regarding the conference; nonetheless, UW–Madison is liaising with medical experts and is monitoring the public health situation. SGCI is primarily committed to the health and safety of our membership and will keep you abreast of any new developments.

 Art thrives in times of social unrest. Our Shared Future will be the continuum of SGCI’s pledge to make our organization more reflective of our society and membership through innovation and community engagement. Confirmed speakers include keynotes Mel Chin and Enrique Chagoya, recipients of SGCI’s Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking Awards. The conference will also feature notable INKubators, panels, and demos, acknowledging the multi-disciplinarity of our practice and principles.

 To conclude, I would like to thank our board and the Madison steering committee for their steadfast commitment and attention to detail. Finally, I would be remiss to not acknowledge the membership; your patience, dedication, and continued affection for the arts has sustained this organization at its most critical and vulnerable juncture — thank you.

Stay safe, take care of each other, and we look forward to seeing you all in Madison as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary!

Dr. Faisal Abdu’Allah
President, SGC International

LETTER TO THE MEMBERSHIP: FALL 2021

Dear SGCI Members,

I hope this message finds you all in the best of health during this period of extended uncertainty.

In Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s book, No Future Without Forgiveness, he describes a human characteristic residing at the core of African life. Ubuntu, a person is a person through other people.  Our virtual conference Makeready was a seminal moment in the history of SGCI. Members displayed the principle of Ubuntu, thoughtful reflections from our keynote Professor Althea Murphy-Price, honest appraisals of contemporary print culture in the arts, sharing of novel and informative demos, and the capstone from our much-loved musicians. Makeready is testimony to our members’ shared values of care and how the art can help us navigate adversity. SGCI strategy is to be at the forefront, reimagining and utilizing our resources responsibly – with empathy and kindness.

SGCI will host our first in-person conference next year at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Our Shared Future. During this conference artists, Mel Chin and Enrique Chagoya will receive the Lifetime Achievement in Printmaking Awards – for their outstanding contribution to the field. Please see our new website for the Call to Participation and the latest information.

We see the departure of Kate McQuillen (Program Coordinator). The board extend their best wishes as you move to greener pastures. Cat Snapp, our treasurer, and past treasurer Margot Myers have been nothing short of incredible, keeping our finances in order. The new website has been under the purview of our secretary, Claire White. A thankless task but has made a difference in how we communicate with the membership – thank you. Thanks to my Ex-Officios Valerie Dibble and Nicola Pietrantoni for their guidance and discernment. I am indebted to Gail Deery, Zach Fitchner, Louise Fisher, Tyanna Buie, Arron Foster, Nicole Geary, Aleksandra Janik, Kit MacNeil, and Blake Sanders for their time, efforts, and camaraderie. They have steered SGCI through difficult times and have made the organization more reflective of the community it represents – we encourage our members to consider the future call for board nominations and the restructuring vote.

Mark your calendars for Puertográfico (2023) and Verified by Proof (2024) in Providence. Graphic Impressions will be revived – under the stewardship of Kit MacNeil and Blake Sanders. Including artists’ essays on post-studio printmaking and virtual/decolonized teaching pedagogies. Several virtual exhibitions by guest curators of BIPOC, LBGTQIA+, and or disabled orientation, striving for equity and not just equal opportunity.

Louise Fisher has revised our awards to artists and successfully launched three new awards (the SGCI Mid-Career Printmaker Award, the SGCI Emerging Printmaker Award, and the SGCI Community Printmaking Award). After consultation with the members, we are reinstating the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2023 (for two recipients) – with applications opening in early 2022.

We are listening to our membership and remain committed to creating the conditions for excellence to thrive in the arts beyond the hallowed walls of SGCI. We remain committed to an open-door policy and will answer questions, suggestions, and concerns. Please email the board at The Listening Channel or me directly at fabduallah@sgcinternational.org.

As we move steadily to the new normal, our SGCI community continues to give their ideas form and bequeath new sites for reflection, self-care and new voices to be heard. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt – It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Take care of each other and see you all in Madison.

Faisal's signature

Dr. Faisal Abdu’Allah
President, SGC International

SGCI EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORTS: SPRING 2021

SGCI Finance Report

April 2021

The past year was challenging due to the realities that come from two consecutive cancelled conferences. Despite the expected precipitous drop in revenue, the finance report this year has some bright spots as well. Coinciding with lower revenues as well as another round of refunds that totaled over $14,000,  was a decrease in some of our normal expenses tied to programming. The day to day expenses of maintaining the organization still exist, however, and can be adequately covered by our membership fees and savings from previous revenue. And finally, the total amount we have in our prepaid expenses continues to be lower each year, with current prepaid expenses of just $25,000. While there will be additional invoices owed to vendors in Madison and Providence in the coming year, this figure is a significant reduction in prepaid totals from the past 2 years. Lowering this amount of money allows SGCI to have more control over its assets.

The generosity that we experienced from our members during times that have been particularly challenging has been uplifting. In both cases where our conferences were cancelled, members had the opportunity to be refunded, transfer their funds to future programs or to donate outright to SGCI. We received many encouraging messages during this time. These kind words helped to keep our spirits up as the group of volunteers and small number of staff worked many hours to keep our organization afloat. In all, just over $11,000 in donated registrations amounts were received. These unrestricted gifts have provided stability and flexibility at a time when it is critically needed. Thank you for your part in this. 

Several important changes to our financial practices were implemented this year.  The transition of duties from the Past Treasurer to the current Treasurer went relatively smoothly, despite the fact that the organization was still in the midst of turmoil due to the pandemic during the time of transition. The reality of a global pandemic put us in unprecedented territory, and we are proud of the careful work that we did to keep SGCI in operation and to keep our employee on payroll. 

Your current Treasurer, Cat Snapp, has made great strides on important new financial initiatives.  Since her term began in Spring 2020, she established a Finance Committee, drafted and passed a board-approved budget, reestablished our reserve fund policy, and finally, secured a 50k non-profit processing credit with Stripe. The refund means that the money that SGCI lost in bank fees for our refunds will be credited back to the organization for the subsequent 50k in processed payments. This achievement represents a savings of SGCI for approximately 8k-9k over the next year.

As your Immediate Past Treasurer, I performed the duties of Treasurer for a few months while Cat was on maternity leave. As Interim Treasurer, my main goal was to maintain weekly account maintenance and oversight, as well as to complete some of the administrative tasks that still reside with this board position. 

Cat and I continue to work together to more appropriately reassign administrative tasks to paid staff and contractors. Our goal is to allow the person serving as SGCI Treasurer to do more leadership work for the board and membership. In coming years, we hope that the Treasurer can use their skills to develop donor relations, strategic planning and fundraising on behalf of our membership instead of performing daily tasks. Cat and I both attended training and sought advice from nonprofit professionals to arrive at this goal. 

The formation of Finance Committee is important for several reasons.  Members of Finance can assist in oversight and thereby reduce the risk of individual liability that takes place with only one officer reviewing financial documents. The members of Finance Committee were able to review the budget drafted by the Treasurer, which was approved during the November 2019 meeting. There are still openings for more volunteers to join the Finance Committee. A successful candidate does not to be an expert in banking or double entry bookkeeping. Rather, it will be a person who is interested in the long term financial health of the organization who can dedicate a few hours each quarter to review documents, understand best practices and ask questions. If you are interested in volunteering in this capacity, please email Cat (csnapp@sgcinternational.org). 

And finally, we hope you take the time to review the financial documents we have prepared for you alongside this report.  We welcome any questions you may have about finance. You can reach out to either Cat or myself (mmyers@sgcinternational.org)

Margot Myers, Immediate Past Treasurer

SGCI Awards Restructuring Report 2021

1. New award categories and budget restructuring:

Rationale: In 2020, the board felt it was time to reimagine the awards structure. In looking at the criteria for our 3 soon-to-be retired awards (Printmaker Emeritus Award, Excellence in Teaching Award, and Honorary Member of the Council Award), we realized that much of our resources were going to recipients who likely already have institutional support. Our main goal with creating the 3 new categories (Mid-Career Printmaker Award, Emerging Printmaker Award and Community Printmaking Award) was to recognize and reward the amazing work of our members who are post-graduate, not yet established, or working outside of academia. The board strives to represent our members who have various backgrounds and at various stages of their careers. We are especially thrilled about the annual SGCI Community Printmaking Award, which will highlight a different community-based printmaking project by a local individual, group or non-profit organization at each conference site. This award is solicited by the steering committee and will be implemented in 2022 at our conference in Madison!

Funds reallocated to diversify award recipients: $7,000 (includes honoraria, lodging and travel stipend)

 

2. New application process for members:

Link to application page

  • Breakdown of application considerations (rationale: further transparency for applicants)
  • Combined application portal on our website (rationale: saves applicants and faculty sponsors time)
    Ex: last year, if students wanted to be considered for the student fellowship, Gamblin Award and Awagami Award, they had to submit three separate applications with three different faculty letters and written proposals.
  • Equity initiatives such as DEI nomination questions and weighted consideration (rationale: highlighting underrepresented members)
  • Ranked choice member voting for finalists of the SGCI Mid-Career Printmaker Award and SGCI Emerging Printmaker Award (rationale: further democratization and involvement for our membership)

3. Initiatives for highlighting awardees:

  • Virtual programming (exhibitions, interviews, social media highlights, etc.) from the Web Team (Blake Sanders and Kit McNeil)
  • Creation of the SGCI Awards Panel at the annual conference featuring emerging, community and student award recipients

Rationale: raising awareness of our awardees amongst members before and during the conference

 

4. Travel for awardees:

  • In 2020 the board voted to 1) pay for awardee travel and lodging expenses and 2) present plaques to recipients at the awards ceremony during the conference in which they are to present their work.

Rationale: Before this vote, some awardees received plaques and had travel/lodging support the year prior to their presentation but not the year after. This saves awardees from the stress of having to find other institutional funding the following year as they prepare their presentation—this is especially important for students and emerging artists. It also brings more awareness amongst our conference attendees as to who the current recipients are.

Louise Fisher, Awards Coordinator

Financial Reports

2016 Financial Review

In 2017, SGCI underwent a professional financial review by Peterson Sullivan LLP, Certified Public Accountants and Advisors,for the Fiscal Year of 2016. Additionally, SGCI received a number of governance and legal recommendations from 501 Commons and Caritas Law Group. See details in the PDFs below.

SGCI Financial Review of Fiscal Year 2016
501 Commons Oberservations and Recommendations
Caritas Law Group Governance Recommendations Memorandum