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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. We must all work together to guide our organization forward!
Dear SGCI Members,
SGCI always has exciting initiatives at hand and there is always news to be communicated about our organization. The most important thing I want to convey to you today, however, are my deepest hopes that you are all well and that you and your families/loved ones remain healthy and safe. Like all, our community and its members have been affected, directly and indirectly, by the Covid-19 pandemic. I hope that the bond that we have as printmakers, whether we know each other personally or not, can be a source of strength and comfort as we forge ahead. So today, I’m flipping this letter on its head like the rest of the world and beginning where I would normally close. I am wishing you all my very best!
Today is a beautiful day for SGC International; our 2020 – 22 Executive Board is now in place and ready to lead us forward! Personally, I could not be more excited to be a part of this board as Immediate Past President. This accomplished and engaged group of printmakers will lead SGCI to exciting new places. I invite you all to welcome and extend your support to Sarah Ellis, Zach Fitchner, Faisal Abdu’Allah, Claire White, Cat Snapp, Aleksandra Janik, Sabrina Pastard, R. L. Tillman, Arron Foster, and Nicole Geary. Thank you all for the commitment you have made to SGCI!
To say that this winter/spring has been a wild ride for SGCI would be an epic understatement. But we have faced the challenges in our path as a united community and we have continued to strengthen the many facets of our organization while stridently confronting adversity. But this is not the defining mark for the outgoing executive board. In the past two years we have:
We have had a fantastic, productive run!
Thank you all for the opportunity to lead SGC International for the past two years. I especially want to thank Kate McQuillen, our program coordinator, for her uplifting energy, incredible organization, and dedicated hard work that make accomplishing the goals and tasks of the SGCI president possible. Thank you to past SGCI presidents Nicole Pietrantoni and Joseph Lupo and former board members Sandra Murchison, Nicole Hand, and Justin Diggle for your mentorship. Please everyone join me in thanking Margot Myers, the 2020-22 treasurer, for the countless hours you have given to place SGCI’s accounting into the excellent, unmatched shape in which it now stands. Anna Nicholson and Nydia Fernández Toledo, the work you did to make Puertográfico our best conference yet was outstanding; thank you for the teamwork and friendship. And I am especially grateful to the rest of the SGCI 2018-20 Executive Board—Valerie Dibble, Nancy Palmeri, Sarah Ellis, Margot Myers, Jennie Suddick, Eliana Rodriguez, Faisal Abdu’Allah, Sangmi Yoo, and Nicole Pietrantoni—for their time, efforts, and camaraderie that made everything we have accomplished possible.
I think of printmakers more as individuals who exercise a rich way of thinking than those engaged in a specific artform. Conceiving, exploring, developing, assessing, deconstructing, reconstructing, shifting, evolving, completing, and evaluating are all a part of our daily practice. Problem solving, inclusive thought, and innovation are at the core of everything we do whether on press, in our careers, or at home. Right now, this agility is serving us well as individuals and as an organization. SGCI is strong. We are proving our resilience. We continue as an organization with evermore amazing adventures in our future. And as we enter into the next chapter for SGC International, we have the hope and excitement that comes with the truly inspiring group of new advocates to lead our organization ahead.
Again, I extend my heartfelt gratitude and best wishes to you all!
SGC International, Immediate Past President
The SGCI Executive Board has spent the past two years evaluating our organization on many levels. Our goal was to make certain that our organization is one of our current time. We must not only continue to strive to meet the goals set by our founders, but also aspire to grow and achieve the needs and aspirations of our current membership while readying ourselves to be a welcoming community for members yet to come.
With this inclusive vision in mind we undertook three interrelated tasks: developing a new strategic plan; editing the SGCI Handbook, the malleable document that guides the functioning of the board; and revising the SGC International Constitution and Bylaws.
New SGCI Strategic Plan
In November of 2018 at our Mid-year Meeting, the SGCI Executive Board began the process of developing a new strategic plan for our organization. This process was started by identifying areas of key importance for SGCI and building working groups to examine these issues and develop goals in each area. The working groups, which were composed of board members and student and professional SGCI members, presented reports in the fall of 2019. These reports became the basis upon which the board structured our new strategic plan.
The new SGCI Strategic Plan is aspirational and concise. This two page document outlines goals for our organization in specific areas, all of which are aimed at strengthening the whole organization. This plan charts a direction for SGCI without determining a specific path or limiting the potential for new ventures. It is a guide forward to help ensure continuity of vision and continued collaboration.
The SGCI Executive voted unanimously to approve our new strategic plan on May 24, 2020 at the first half of our Spring 2020 Executive Board Meeting. We now present it to the membership for your review and a vote for approval in the coming weeks.
SGCI Handbook Updates
The SGCI Handbook is the guiding document for the work of the executive board, appointments, and our program coordinator. This document expands upon our constitution and bylaws, the legal charter documents that define our organization. The SGCI Handbook is revised periodically as needed to make sure that it reflects the board and organization today within the confines of our constitution and bylaws. At times small changes are made, while at others major overhauls are necessary. Over the last year Nicole Pietrantoni, Valerie Dibble, Sarah Ellis, Margot Myers, Kate McQuillen, and I scoured our handbook to bring it up to date, ensure consistency throughout, and create structure where it was missing. I am indebted to this team for all of the hard work that they have put into this effort. Their focus and wisdom have helped us refine this document into one that is reflective of our organization today.
The SGCI Executive Board voted unanimously to approve the edits to the SGCI Handbook on April 30, 2020. We are pleased to present the incoming executive board with this document that will clearly guide their work.
SGCI Conference Handbook Updates
Valerie Dibble led a similar effort to revise SGCI’s Conference Handbook. SGCI’s approach to conference planning has evolved continuously over the years, with this document guiding our steering committees through developing and hosting their conference. It, too, had become outdated by big organizational changes and small changes in process that were not reflected throughout the document. It is now in solid shape to help those planning future conferences work with clear direction. Thank you, Valerie, for using your experience as a conference host to ease the path of steering committees to come.
SGCI Bylaws & Constitution Revisions
Amendments to an organization’s constitution and bylaws are changes that are not to be taken lightly. These revisions need to be approved by SGCI’s Executive Board and its membership, reviewed by legal counsel, and filed with our charter state. Nicole Pietrantoni graciously dedicated much of her time as SGCI’s Immediate Past President to reviewing our constitution & bylaws and helping us to adjust them in several places to support SGCI’s current position. In addition to proposing language changes and working with all involved in the revisions of the handbook and conference handbook, she also has created a document that identifies all of the changes and explains the rationale for each change in clear language.
The 2018-20 SGCI Executive Board is handing this work off to the incoming board because there are a few additional potential amendments that are identified in our strategic plan. Before completing the amendment process and incurring the expenses necessary to amend our constitution and bylaws, we feel it is important to resolve these directives:
We look forward to completing these tasks soon and presenting amendments to the membership for review and a vote.
Puertográfico 2020 was set to be our first annual conference in a different culture with exciting new events and twists on our traditional conference programming. As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic got in the way. Fortunately we had been monitoring things closely and we were able to be proactive in our decision making which put us in a position where we were able to be methodic and deliberate. Instead of finding ourselves scrambling to keep up, we were able to thoughtfully develop and build a self-service platform to get registration funds handling into our members’ hands before when they needed them. We worked actively with our vendors and partners in a spirit of understanding and generosity on behalf of all parties involved. While this postponement has been a great disappointment to everyone, we have worked through it with a sense of solidarity and the cooperative spirit that is the hallmark of printmakers.
Our Puertográfico Registration Fee Handling Plan is still in full swing and members will be able to make their decisions how they wish their fees to be handled until June 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM CST. Make certain to log your choice before then. The plan that we developed was built to look out for the best interest of both SGCI and our members. SGCI’s current assets are held in two areas: our bank account and paid deposits to vendors. When working through our options we recognized that we would see a loss as an organization, but our goal was to ensure that SGCI did not see a hit to our bank account after the return of our hotel and busing deposits. To do so we pledged to give members refunds of as much of their registration fees as possible while also offering options to transfer registration fees to Verified by Proof, our 2021 conference in Providence, RI, or donate their registration fees to help SGCI offset its losses. As we planned, we projected a worst case scenario where every registrant opted for a refund. In this case, SGCI would see an overall loss of roughly $80,000 to our total assets, but no loss to our bank account. The plan is unfolding smoothly and as of April 30, 2020 we report the following:
Puertográfico Registration Fees Handled $111,822.75
Refunds Paid $71,970.25
Registrations Transferred to SGCI 2021 $26,549.75
Donations to SGCI $8,300.00
15% of Registration Fees Retained $5,002.75
Loss to SGCI Assets $37,109.48
Loss to SGCI Bank Account $0
At this time Puertográfico is on the SGCI calendar for 2023. We will keep our members up to date as plans become more firm.
Margot Myers, the SGCI 2018-20 treasurer, had dedicated her entire term to helping our organization bring our finances into line with the standards for non-profit accounting. This has included consolidating accounts and countless hours of work classifying all of our expenses so that we have an accurate picture of our finances. One of her main goals has been to get us ready for a financial audit, which SGCI has never had. I am thrilled to report that we are now in that place. Our incoming executive board will determine when the organization is fully ready to move forward.
Please see the Spring 2020 Treasurer’s report for a more precise report and review our current finances.
SGCI launched MakeReady, our social platform, this April. We are pleased that this new member benefit will help us all remain in closer contact and that the printmaking discourse will have the opportunity to thrive more fully between our conferences. MakeReady will continue to evolve in the coming months with expansions that will include bulletin boards and a desktop platform for our website. This project was developed and led by Kate McQuillen, our program coordinator. Thank you Kate for all of your work to bring us closer together!
As of March 2020, SGCI’s accounting procedures are brought into best practices guidelines for Federal Non Profits. I’m satisfied to report this to membership, as this practice not only brings SGCI into full federal compliance but also protects our Directors, Officers, Staff and the organization. Any current financial reports are available upon request from 07/01/18-present.
The three following statements were presented to the outgoing and incoming board on 4/26/20. The first two should be run for each fiscal cycle and can now be published regularly with SGCI’s 990 filing on our website. The Statement of Activity by Class should be run from 7/1/18-Current Date to give the board a broader perspective on the financial comparisons for each conference (class).
Following the cancellation of our 2020 conference, I have been working nonstop with our accountant and web designer to ensure that member contributions are being accurately designated for their intended purposes. Members were given one of the three options for redirection of funds: partial refund, transfer to Providence 2021 or Organizational donation. These changes will continue until June 1, 2020. It was decided that membership fees would be retained to cover part of SGCI’s operating costs. Financial processing fees are not refunded to SGCI, so full membership costs are not retained by our organization. Once all redistribution of funds has been determined, we may be able to apply for refunds through Stripe-the company that processes our payments online.
After legally changing 2020 contracts with the hotel and bus companies in Puerto Rico, I have followed up to retain our prepaid deposits. Understandably, there are delays in processing. Based on written commitments from our partners in Puerto Rico, we expect to recapture all prepaid conference expenses totaling just under $90,000.
As SGCI welcomes incoming board members, I spend many hours per week in transition efforts. Most of my obligations have to do with explanations of reasonable secure document processing and training. I continue to educate volunteers and staff as we move towards improved understanding and practices. The advent of immediately available professionally reconciled books results in the cessation of duplication of financial explanations to membership. Future volunteers in this position should continue efforts to transition the position towards more appropriate board governance tasks for the position of chief financial officer of SGCI.
It has been an exciting and rewarding time since we were all together at Texchange last spring! Whether working on Puertográfico 2020, our upcoming conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, traveling to represent SGC International, or engaging with our membership, I feel fortunate to be serving as SGCI president and learn from every opportunity, or challenge, with which I have been presented. As with so many volunteer opportunities, I know that I am receiving much more than I give. It has been particularly rewarding for me to see giving and volunteering becoming more intricately woven into our organization.
The board has been actively assisting beyond the scope of their roles in the leadership of SGCI in the preparation for Puertográfico. It has been exciting to work with our conference hosts and see how much you all have to look forward to when you arrive in San Juan on April 1, 2020. This event will be packed with new programming, but perhaps more importantly it will be rich with opportunities for cultural exchange. Members will develop lasting bonds with Puerto Rican, Carribean, and Latin American printmakers, learn about the complex cultural and political relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States, and potentially arrive early or stay late to participate in community service opportunities.
One of the most rewarding things that has come from our work with our Puerto Rican counterparts is the development of a sense of responsibility to and appreciation of the Puerto Rican art and printmaking community for hosting us. This past spring Joseph Velasquez and John Hancock visited Puerto Rico to meet with printmakers, visit our host institutions, and make connections with area schools. Joseph returned with a trove of ideas for ways that SGCI can give back to Puerto Rico. To help him flesh these ideas into action, I formed the Ad Hoc Committee for Community Exchange. This committee is led by Joseph Velasquez with the assistance of Hannah March-Sanders and Blake Sanders. Under Joseph’s leadership, he and his team have developed opportunities to take programming into local schools, constructed a registry for tools and materials that members can bring with them to Puerto Rico and leave as donations to local institutions, and created a giving campaign to purchase a press for the printshop at Universidad de Puerto Rico – Recinto de Río Piedras. I am humbled by the work of this team and eager to see the generosity of our members come to fruition through your participation in these initiatives. Thank you Joseph, John, Hannah, Blake and all the others who are helping us in these efforts! I hope to see your work become the standard for how we engage with all of our future host communities.
In the following report you will see the outcome of the many ways in which people give of their time and resources to help SGC International become stronger. We all benefit from these selfless acts. In closing I ask how can you give back to SGCI? How can you embrace volunteerism and give back to SGCI whether it is in our governance, outreach, conference management, or exchange with our Puerto Rican host community? How can you help SGCI to leave a legacy of friendship and generosity of spirit in all that we do?
Thank you and best wishes to you all!
President, SGC International
The board would like to thank our Texchange steering committee for a fantastic conference this past March. Lari Gibbons, Nancy Palmeri, Steven Foutch, Rachel Livedalen, and David Newman, thank you all for the hard work and time that you generously gave to presenting such a great event. All that we gained from the programming that you presented and the memories made from our time together live strong.
The following is a snapshot of the final conference accounting from our conference planning budget.
On-site Registration: $28,350.00
Conference Final Budget: $20,820 conference profit
$266,212 registration revenue
$245,391 conference expenses
SGC International Budget Report
We will be presenting a formal budget report at our Membership meeting at our 2020 annual conference in Puerto Rico. In the meantime to keep you abreast, the following figures are a snapshot of our budget pulled from our conference accounting and membership dues, the two major sources of income for SGCI.
2019 SGCI Budget Snapshot (July 1st, 2018-June 30th)
$55,720 in membership dues
$20,820 2019 conference profit
$76,722 total income
2020-22 SGCI Board of Directors
SGCI’s Nominating Committee is beginning the review and deliberation over the nominees for the 2020-22 SGCI Board of Directors. When this committee has completed its work, the proposed slate of officers will be presented to the membership via email as well a posting on our website.
We are pleased to have Louise Fisher as our new Website Editor and Blake Sanders as our new Website Curator. Guidelines and a portal for submissions are currently in development and will be announced in the coming weeks.
SGCI is continuing to refine and enrich our website in both its functionality and content. To help you keep current on SGCI announcements, we have added SGCI Today to the menu bar of the website. You can go here to check out our latest news. We are currently in the process of expanding our member portal to create a community where members can communicate with each other, participate in discussions, crowdsource input on ideas and questions, and upload documents to be shared with members.
We look forward to seeing our website transform into an online journal and community hub where our members can keep even more current on the world of printmaking and more easily engage with each other not just at our annual conferences, but over the entirety of the year.
The Puertográfico steering committee under the leadership of Anna Nicholson and Nydia Fernández Toledo is hard at work on our 2020 conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They are collaborating with Universidad de Puerto Rico – Recinto de Río Piedras, Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño, and many museums and cultural institutions in the San Juan area. The SGCI board is focusing a lot of effort making certain that they have all the support that they need. SGCI’s first conference in a different culture is going to be an amazing event with familiar favorites, shifts in formatting, and exciting new programming like:
We’re looking forward to seeing you and sharing in these experiences with you all. As you make your plans for Puertográfico 2020, please keep in mind that Early Bird Registration will close on December 15, 2019 and Regular Registration will close on February 15, 2020. And don’t forget, Institutional Memberships are a great way for your institution to support your participation in our conferences and depending upon the level of institutional membership defray student expenses so that they only have to pay $87.50 for their conference registrations. You can learn more about Institutional Memberships here!
Please plan on staying at the Sheraton Puerto Rico. You’ll be enriching your own experience by being just upstairs from the morning events rather than having to deal with challenging San Juan traffic and you’ll be helping keep SGCI in good financial standing. We have a big hotel contract requiring that we meet 1,131 room nights. If we do not meet this obligation, we will face financial penalties. We are on our way to filling our block, but we want to see your name on our hotel guest list. To give you one more nudge this year we have created the the Stay with SGCI Giveback! If we reach our hotel room block at the Sheraton San Juan, SGCI pledges to give a $25 refund to students who stay at the hotel on their conference registration. Book your room today!
We’re only 20 weeks away now, so get your plans nailed down. To bait your excitement, each week we’re posting Here’s the Salsa!, a little historical, political, or cultural morsel to tease your research for your Puerto Rican adventure! Can’t wait to see you there in April!
China: Guanlan Forum and the 4th International Printmaking Organizations Alliance Convention
In May I traveled as a guest of the China Printmaking Museum and the Guanlan Original Printmaking Base to Guanlan, Shenzhen, China for the Guanlan Forum, the opening of the 7th Guanlan International Print Biennial at the China Printmaking Museum, and the 4th International Printmaking Organizations Alliance Convention. It was exciting to present about SGC International at the Guanlan Forum and hear presentations from individuals from Belgium, China, The Czech Republic, England, Greece, Italy, and Poland about printmaking organizations and efforts in their countries. Attending the opening of the Biennial was amazing; the pomp and drama were staggering and the exhibition was breathtaking. All of the awardees were in attendance and were from countries all over the world. Many of these individuals were students whose work was astounding. The following day was marked by a meeting of the International Printmaking Organizations Alliance, of which SGCI is a member. While this group is in a formative state, the potential for international collaboration through this group formed by Zhao Jaichun of the Guanlan Original Printmaking Base is truly exciting. I am eager to support his efforts and look forward to seeing how they develop. It was wonderful to see events like a vendors’ fair and open portfolio that were modeled on our conferences events in the programming for this celebration the exhibition opening and our gathering. My entire experience was eye opening beyond belief and demonstrated the rich potential of strengthening our connections to the international printmaking community.
Themed Portfolio Guidelines
Themed portfolios are handled differently each year based upon the demands of our conference site, but we are always working to make the overall guidelines for organization and participation as clear as possible. For our conference in Las Vegas we instituted a policy limiting each SGCI member’s participation to only one themed portfolio. This was instituted to ensure access to participation for as many members as possible and help student and emerging printmakers develop their exhibition records. It is now standard practice for the themed portfolios that are a part of our conference. This year we have put a Waiver of Liability and Assumption of Risk policy in place. After having to deal with a portfolio and organizer that went missing after the participants had sent their editions and submitted their participation fees, we realized that this was an area that left SGCI in difficult circumstances with potential legal and financial ramifications. While our challenge with problematic portfolio was resolved with the work and payments returned to the portfolio participants, it was clear that we needed a policy to protect our organization. We worked with Caritas Law group to draft and institute this policy which states:
SGC International is not financially responsible for incomplete portfolios, lost editions, completed portfolios, or participation fees. As a condition of participation, participating artists assume the risk and responsibility of shipping editions to the Event Organizer and the Event Organizer assumes the risk of shipping completed portfolios to participants and handling participation fees. SGCI is not liable for any Themed Portfolio editions, completed portfolios, or participation fees.
The board would like to send a huge thank you to all who participated in our 2019 Membership Survey. Your responses are key in helping us form the future initiatives of SGC International. The board has been reviewing your submissions and will dig into the details of the survey results when we meet for our 2019 Midyear Meeting.
The SGCI Board of Directors is in the process of developing an updated strategic plan for our organization. Our goal is that this plan be of our organization setting goals for its future that are representative of the breadth of diverse aspirations of our membership. The 2019 Membership Survey was created collaboratively to help cull input from our members on many aspects of SGCI—Diversity & Inclusivity, Development / New Revenue, Students, Membership / Member Benefits, Defining International, SGCI’s Website, Vendors, Inter-Organizational Collaboration, and Conferences. Working Groups formed of two board members, two professional members, and two student members have been tasked with developing goals for SGCI in each of these areas. These reports, due on November 15, 2019, will be the basis for the board’s work to construct an updated strategic plan at our Mid-Year Meeting. The proposed strategic plan will then be posted on our website and presented via our listserv for review by the membership. We will vote on the updated strategic plan at the April 2020 Membership Meeting in San Juan.
Maryland is our current charter state. Our archive and permanent address are in Georgia at Kennesaw State University. The board is currently investigating the possibility of a transfer of our charter from Maryland to Georgia.
SGCI Board Composition & Term Length
The SGCI Board has begun a discussion about our board composition and the duration of board member terms. Any changes would involve bylaws changes. The main area of this discussion are:
SGCI Constitution & Bylaws and SGCI Handbook Updates
The SGCI Constitution & Bylaws and Handbook are two separate documents that work closely in tandem to structure the governance of our organization and guide the work of the board of directors. As SGCI has grown the handbook has been expanded while not necessarily thinking of the document as a whole or its relationship to the constitution and bylaws. The board is currently continuing the process of reviewing and editing the handbook undertaken by previous boards so that it reflects SGCI today. When this is complete we will review our constitution and bylaws and propose edits to make certain that they are representative of SGCI now. It is essential that we complete this task now so that the current board is handing off the running of SGCI to the board that will begin its term in April 2020 with as much clarity as possible. The board will review and discuss the proposed edits at our Mid-Year Meeting. The proposed edits to the constitution and bylaws will then be submitted for review by a lawyer to make certain that they are properly constructed. It is our goal to present the updated SGC International Constitution & Bylaws to our members for review in mid to late January of 2020 via email and a posting on our website. Subsequently an online vote for approval by the membership. Any corrections, changes, or additions must receive “a two-thirds majority vote of all responding members in good standing” to be approved and enacted.
This year the Mid-Year Meeting of the SGCI Board of Directors will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Sheraton Puerto Rico December 15 – 18. This meeting which normally happens in October or November was pushed to December because of the long travel time to Puerto Rico and the opportunity for board members to stay an additional day to assist the Puertográfico steering committee in its work preparing for our conference. If there are issues that you would like to bring to the boards attention for discussion at our meeting, please send them to email@example.com.
Happy 2019, Print Folk! I hope that this update reaches you with lots of energy in your studios and shops.
We are already headlong into a new year and striding quickly towards Texchange: SGCI 2019. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in Texas at The Fairmont Dallas where we will all gather each morning and from which we will all adventure in the afternoons. Our steering committee, led by Steven Fourch, Lari Gibbons, Rachel Livedalen, David Newman, and Nancy Palmeri, are planning an action-packed conference for us. Registration will close on February 1, 2019 at 11:59 pm CST, so be sure to lock down your spot to join us soon. And as you plan your lodging, remember that it is important to stay at The Fairmont Dallas. Not only will you get a good rate for Dallas, but we are obligated to fill a block of rooms and your joining us in the conference hotel helps us meet our numbers. These contracted blocks allow us to get both good room rates for attendees and the use of conference facilities big enough for us to gather as a community. If we do not fill our blocks, we are obligated to pay attrition fees to the hotel and that cuts into what we can do as an organization.
To say that things are busy for the SGC International Board of Directors would be an understatement. The Board met at the Fairmont Dallas November 9 – 11, 2018 where we spent Saturday and Sunday morning addressing a broad range of SGCI interests. There are so many exciting directions in which our organization is evolving and areas in which our reach is broadening. We invite you to review our minutes if you are interested in the specifics of our work at this meeting. Below is an overview of some of the most important areas of our discussion as well as other board efforts upon which we have been working in the two months since.
The annual SGC International Membership Meeting at Texchange is scheduled for Friday, March 8, 2019, 10:15 – 11:45 AM. Please join us then for additional updates and discussion of the future direction of our community.
If you are interested in volunteering to work with the Board, please reach out! We are always looking for ways to involve our membership and we are eager to hear what you have to say about SGCI!
Best wishes to you all. See you soon in North Texas!
President, SGC International
The launch of Texchange registration marks the first time that SGCI has had Institutional Memberships. At our November board meeting, the Board voted to offer this new form of membership that helps various kinds of institutions support their faculty, students, staff, etc. participation in our organization and our conferences. Our tiers of institutional memberships offer options to fully support faculty/staff membership and conference registrations while at the higher levels also covering half of student conference registrations. Students must still pay for their own SGCI memberships and the remaining half of their conference registrations. All tiers of institutional memberships include a table at the VPP Fair and the institutions logo posted on our website with a link to their institution’s url. The Board is committed to assessing the success of this plan at the end of this conference season.
Discussion of what Graphic Impressions is and what our organization wants it to be have been ongoing for many years. What started as a newsletter evolved into a newsletter/journal hybrid. In recent years there have been Inkubators and discussions about how to reframe this project to best serve our membership. The Board directly addressed this at our mid-year meeting. We again asked, should we move towards a peer reviewed status and develop a true journal? Was this the right move at this time when there are already well-established printmaking journals? Would we be trying to break into an already rich market with a publication that has seen declining numbers of submissions in recent years? Or would be be better off shifting our focus and define our place where we see a need?
With much consideration, the Board voted to suspend publication of Graphic Impressions in its most recent iteration and fill the goals that it served by redirecting our efforts towards two specific objectives. We will enrich our website with rigorous written and visual content to form a continuously evolving web-based journal/meeting place for our community that is an extension of the engaging and inspiring dialogue of our annual conferences. We will also use our listserv to post regular e-newsletters communicating the news, classifieds, and updates that our members would like to share with our community. Graphic Impressions will not disappear! We will still host the archive of this publication on our website and we will begin mining it to share its content with our web readers in new ways. If you are interested in contributing to the content of our website or are interested in serving as an editor or curator, watch out for an upcoming call for participation.
The Board would like to thank all of the individuals who have served as Newsletter Editor, but especially Marchelo Vera who served in this capacity most recently. Please see Marchelo’s final letter from the editor here. Marchelo, we are grateful for your contributions to SGCI and Graphic Impressions and look forward to seeing the exciting outcome to the work that you are putting into Puertographico 2020.
And, this is not the end of publishing for SGC International. We are excited to announce a new in-print initiative at Texchange! Stay tuned!
Traveling Membership Exhibitions
The Board began a discussion about the SGCI Members Traveling Exhibition and whether it is a tradition that should be continued. Low participation rates in this year’s application process as well as the fewer numbers of requests to show the exhibition have led us to question whether it is the best way for us to exhibit an accurate representation of the diversity of our membership. The board voted to revisit whether or not the MTE should continue after the run of the 2019-21 Members Traveling Exhibition. We also voted to seek an opportunity for one new SGCI-sponsored juried members exhibition for the Fall of 2019. We will be posting a call for hosts for this exhibition soon.
The Board voted unanimously to extend a new contract to Kate McQuillen, who has served our organization as our administrative coordinator since April of 2016. As our organization has grown, so have the number of responsibilities required to keep us moving. Kate has worked tirelessly to help SGCI meet the goals of its mission and to keep our operations running smoothly. As we have made adjustments in how we operate, Kate’s position has evolved. We have given Kate the new title of Program Coordinator to more accurately describe what she does for us. We have also adjusted her salary to balance the new responsibilities of her position. Anyone who has worked with Kate will tell you that it is a true pleasure. Her professionalism, attention to detail, and positive energy are amazing! If you see Kate at our upcoming conference, please join the board in thanking her for her dedication to SGCI.
I had the great pleasure of traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico in December where I spent three fantastic days with Anna Nicholson, our Puertographico 2020 Steering Committee Chair. SGCI’s 2020 conference is going to be amazing! Anna and I packed so many meetings and visits to sites where we will be holding events into our time together: Escuela de Artes Plásticas; Universidad de Puerto Rico Rio Piedras, Bellas Artes Department; Museo de Puerto Rico; Museo de las Américas; Museo de Historia Antropología y Arte de la Universidad de Puerto Rico Rio Piedras; El Arsenal, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña; and Centro para el Grabado Artes del Libro, among others. As we reach beyond our mainland US conferences to become a part of the vibrant Puerto Rican printmaking and art communities we are looking to break our traditional SGCI conference model. This is going to be the conference you do not want to miss—programing evolving as the conference unfolds, more shared experiences, content addressing more than printmaking, potential Maria recovery volunteering opportunities, salsa in the streets, beach activities, and who knows what else! Calls for participation will be coming soon!
SGCI has a great group of folks in Providence, Rhode Island planning our return to New England after what will be 18 years since our 2003 Boston conference. The Board is pleased to announce that we have contracted with the Rhode Island Convention Center and Omni Providence Hotel to serve as the hub of our gathering scheduled for April 7 – 11, 2021. Come to the Membership Meeting when we are in Dallas to hear a little more and meet our steering committee chair, John Paul McCaughey.
SGC International 2022 or Beyond?
The SGCI Board will begin reviewing proposals for our 2022 conference after February 15, 2019. If you are interested in putting a bid for a conference together, reach out and let us know. We will get you all the materials you need to begin forming your vision for an SGCI Conference.
An Updated Strategic Plan for SGC International
We are in the early stages of developing an updated strategic plan for SGCI. The Board has formed Working Groups to look at specific areas of our organization’s mission. The Working Groups’ topics include Diversity & Inclusivity, Development/New Revenue, Students, Membership/Member Benefits, International, Website, Vendors, Inter-Organizational Collaboration, and Conferences. These groups have been working to define questions for a member survey that will be distributed soon. Watch out for it and make certain to respond. And, when you see a board member at the conference, take time to talk to them about your ideas of what SGCI should be/become. If you are interested in being a member of the soon to be formed Ad Hoc Strategic Plan Committee, let us know. We want this to be a strategic plan that is both of and for the entirety of SGCI.
Updated Logo And Website
The most visible stride this board has made thus far has been the updating of SGC International’s logo and website. Thank you so much to Jim Bryant for volunteering to design our logo and helping us to develop this bold new mark, as well a beautiful palette of icons that we will use in our website to identify media-specific posts. Thank you also to Kate Bingaman-Burt, Kate McQuillen, and R.L. Tillman who served with SGCI President Charles Beneke on our ad hoc Logo and Website Committee to provide feedback as we developed our new public image. Bryce Meyer of Pomelo Productions has been fantastic to work with as he has built out the website which is fully integrated with our membership database. We are looking forward to continuing to develop the website with content and resources to make it an engaging and useful tool for our membership.
Updated Strategic Plan
The board is currently in the beginning stages of developing an updated strategic plan for SGC International. To make certain that it is a plan not just for, but of our organization, board members have been charged with forming working groups to look at specific aspects of SGCI—diversity & inclusivity, development/new revenue, students, membership/member benefits, international, journal, vendors, inter-organizational collaboration, conferences. Each working group chaired by a board member includes an additional board member, two non-board regular members, and one student member. At our mid-year meeting the board members chairing each of these groups will present a report reflecting both SGCI’s past and current efforts and potential future directions. An ad hoc Strategic Plan Committee will then be formed to work with the board to develop our updated strategic plan. We anticipate presenting this to our membership at our spring conference.
Student Funding & Support
An exciting item on the agenda for our mid-year meeting asks how SGCI can develop a mechanism to gather and distribute donated student memberships. What began with a member contacting the board with interest in donating a student membership and conference registration turned into a rich brainstorming effort with lots of great possibilities. It is our goal to find ways to help many students. We would like to thank past-president Joseph Lupo for leading this ad hoc committee’s discussion.
Historically SGCI has operated financially on an annual year. This has created the accounting challenge of having to track two separate conferences in one financial year. Our research has indicated that this is not good practice; programming should not be split across multiple fiscal years if at all possible. To address this problem SGCI Board has voted to shift to a fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30. This change will place only one conference in our financial year and give us the opportunity to track our finances in a much more accurate and responsible manner.
Our previous board began working with 501 Commons, a non-profit organization in Seattle, Washington (501commons.org) to help us to better understand and establish best practices appropriate for our organization. This organization that serves more than 1000 non-profits provides expertise to nonprofits through 30+ services, including a full range of management consulting; technology consulting (IT planning and database development); outsourced HR; accounting; IT infrastructure; and database management services; professional development and board training; and free information and referral services. Conference Accounting Practice Change In the past it has been SGCI’s practice to maintain several checking accounts with “seed money” for each conference that was in the pipeline. The conference coordinator oversaw these checking accounts. When the conference accounts were reconciled post-conference, this seed money was paid back to SGCI. Seed money functioned essentially as a loan. Our previous board’s work with 501 Commons to help us establish best practice showed us that this concept and treatment of seed money was not smart non-profit business practice. Additionally, keeping funding in many separate checking accounts created much accounting confusion. Conference spending will now be a part of our fiscal budget. SGCI’s Finance Committee will work with our conference site committees to establish budgets for each. These conference budgets will allow us to better form annual fiscal budgets. All income and expenses, including conferences, will be tracked through classes and subclasses set up in our accounting system, Quickbooks, and paid by SGCI itself.
Identity & Website
The SGC International Board is working to update our organization’s logo and our website. Why an updated logo and a new website? Why now? Quite simply, our logo does not represent who we are now and our website does not function as it should to communicate to our membership and give our membership the opportunity to work with us. Both of these elements are our main public face and they must represent who we are. To more specifically answer why, here is a more detailed list of reasons:
Continuing to patch our website and try to force it to function as we need is a waste of our resources. The wiser move is to start from scratch and construct a new website with a structure that will both endure and evolve. The SGCI Board voted to approve this action and has contracted with Polmelo Productions to construct a new website from the ground up at a cost of $15,660.00. This cost is in our FY18-19 budget and will be covered by membership fees for that fiscal year. We anticipate that the website will be fully functioning when our 2019 conference registration goes live in October.
Updated Strategic Plan
Our board has begun putting together working groups to help us in the beginning stages of developing an updated strategic plan. Each working group will address a specific aspect of our organization and will have at least one and no more than two board members. These working groups will solicit additional members from our membership and each group will include artist/ faculty/professionals and students. The information gathered and reports submitted by these working groups will be used to establish a strategic plan for our organization. We hope to present this plan to our membership at our 2019 conference. The complete formation and engagement of these working groups will begin in the fall of 2018. Please look out for solicitations for participation in these groups in September of 2018.