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.
Follow this link to read my full report on the board’s recent work and 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