SGCI Executive Board Reports & LettersImage 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: 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 email@example.com.
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.
Dr. Faisal Abdu’Allah
President, SGC International
SGCI EXECUTIVE BOARD REPORTS: SPRING 2021
SGCI Finance Report
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 (firstname.lastname@example.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 (email@example.com)
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:
- 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
SGCI New Initiatives Report, 2020-2021
SGCI is a member-centered organization, that, per the mission statement advances the professional standing of persons engaged in making original prints and drawings and stimulates public appreciation and interest in the arts of printmaking, drawing, and other graphic media through the exchange of professional information among artists and others involved in these arts.
In late summer and early Fall of 2020, SGCI’s members and our non-profit law consultants asked for revisions to our structure and we’ve begun the process of responding.
Member centered organizations have a responsibility to listen to their membership and act in their best interest. As SGCI is committed to making an honest appraisal of its history and working to dismantle the hostile environment experienced by some of its members, we have begun a multi-tiered suite of revisions centered on increasing diverse representation in SGCI and giving members a stronger voice.
The following are some of those new initiatives:
SGCI developed a new Tiered Membership structure, designed to address flexibility, inclusivity, and our new virtual connectedness.
Working under the belief that the key to reconciliation is listening to each other as power concedes nothing without motive or demand we created the listening channel, an email address that is received by multiple board members. The content of received messages is reviewed and discussed at committee and board meetings
Currently, this email address is being checked by Faisal Abdu’Allah, Arron Foster, and Nicole Geary. The contact form allows members to remain anonymous if they so choose.
Since its inception in Fall 2020 The Listening Channel has received approximately 85-90 separate emails each addressing a range of questions and concerns.
These have been individually addressed through the combined efforts of those listed above in tandem with the larger board and staff.
In an effort to bring SGCI’s Constitution and Bylaws in line with the strategic plan and better represent the diverse printmaking community a bylaws subcommittee was formed and tasked with making revisions to the organizations operating documents.
The work being undertaken by this subcommittee is rooted in the belief that Individuals affected by these rules have the right to participate in their modification; any changes to the bylaws will ultimately be voted upon by the membership.
To increase diverse representation in SGCI and give members a stronger voice, SGCI sought applicants for this committee. Out of this international search, which was voted on by the membership, two candidates, Olivia Frederick and Claudia Wilburn were selected.
Currently the committee is comprised of:
Claire White: Secretary
Margot Myers: Immediate Past Treasurer
Claudia Wilburn: Member
Olivia Fredericks: Member
Arron Foster: Member At Large
Faisal Abdu’Allah: President and Ex Officio Member.
The BLSC’s work is driven in part by an interest in professionalizing the organization and building a board that is both equitable and sustainable. With that in mind they have been developing strategies for restructuring the board that include:
Reducing the number of non-voting board member positions by extending the right to vote to all, (or most) board members.
Implementing staggered Board Terms in an effort to promote continuity and extend institutional memory.
Implement a Non-Hierarchical Board structure, which will involve the overall consolidation and reduction of board position with an utmost limit of 12.
This model of governance has the benefit of decentralizing power and authority while encouraging functional diversity between different members. In essence, everyone can join in a project and make a contribution.
The BLSC work is ongoing and the membership is encouraged to contribute by reviewing the bylaws with a critical eye and identifying those things that seem ambiguous, inequitable or out of touch.
This report was prepared by Arron L. Foster, April 7, 2021
This year, SGCI put our board meeting minutes and the handbook online and held open elections for new officers. All these efforts went toward our transparency goal.
SGCI purchased the Nonprofit Policy Sampler; it’s now in the Google Drive. It was very helpful in organizing potential codes of conduct for staff and board members and will help us develop more policies in the future. It’s important we have these guidelines in place before emergencies, so we are not reacting but following procedures.
SGCI recently formed the Bylaws subcommittee. Preparing for this included researching charter transfers. We chose to wait to transfer; it is too expensive for our current proposed budget. That’s a discussion I feel we need to revisit soon to consolidate our charter with our physical address in Georgia.
I served on the Steering committee for MakeReady with Louise Fisher, Sabrina Pastard and Zach Fitchner. This was our first virtual event and our first event where the members chose the content. To make the event more accessible, the content has subtitles.
SGCI has made changes and improvements this year.
Claire White, Secretary
OUTGOING PRESIDENTS’ LETTER TO THE MEMBERSHIP 2018-2020-CHARLES BENEKE
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.