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Board Reports

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!

Winter 2019

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!

Charles Beneke
President, SGC International

Institutional Memberships
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.

Graphic Impressions
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.

Program Coordinator
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.

Puertographico 2020
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!

Providence 2021
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.

Early Fall 2018

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.

SUMMER 2018

Fiscal Year
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.

Bookkeeping
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:

  • Our current website has become visually outdated and its user interface is challenging. It does not represent the aesthetic or professional standards to which SGCI and our members should aspire. There is a direct effect here upon our membership numbers and level of engagement.
  • There are glitches that are deeply embedded in our current website; it has not functioned as it was fully intended.
  • Our database is up to date, but not currently linked to our website.
  • Our conference registration system, etouches, is not currently integrated into our website.

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.