A recent article in the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported that four Art Association board members had resigned due to a lack of transparent leadership, a culture marked by economic emphasis and a muddy sense of creative direction. The fallout, now very public, occurred over a plan to relocate a portion of the Art Association’s operations to an empty Powderhorn Mall retail space. Board Chairman Dave Muskat reportedly attempted to push the move through quickly, without fully consulting board and staff. Though the books have balanced out under the current administration, it hasn’t been enough to stifle frustration.
When I read the article and Facebook comments about all this, I admit to reacting strongly. My long-standing respect and affection for the Art Association is real; so is the pain over watching it pass through such troubles. For years the Association has been reformatting its economic model and re-imagining what it wants to be to the community. All non-profits are businesses. They need to make money. But they also need to sustain a viable, dynamic mission. In a community our size, they need to generate authentic good will.
Partnering with another local arts group could make a difference. One prominent organization not only reaches out to Jackson’s community; it reaches out to tourism and a world audience. The University of Wyoming’s museum combines exciting contemporary and historically-themed exhibitions and teaching with programs that energize Laramie’s community.
The worst thing a leader can do to an organization’s image is publicly bad mouth colleagues and essentially tell everyone: “So what?” Once it’s out there, that sentiment can easily boomerang. Artists work mightily to move arts forward, and this latest development makes that effort more difficult. A value is owed to any organization’s supporters, whether those supporters offer hard financial assistance, volunteerism, positive word-of-mouth, or any other form of patronage. The Association has some new, very smart board members. I wish them all the luck in rejuvenating one of Jackson’s most important arts non-profits. With any luck recently department board members will be able to contribute their time and talents to the Association once again.
Submitted with modesty & good will ~~~ TC
Here’s some support: The Art Association’s “JURIED METALS EXHIBITION: SOLDER, RIVET, WELD” issued an open call for entries. Opening May 30th, 2014, the show will highlight new metalworks that utilize myriad metal fabrication techniques: casting, lampworking, metal clay, beading, metalsmithing, blacksmithing and welding.
Submission Deadline: Midnight MST, Monday April 28th, 2014 | Exhibition: May 30th – June 27th, 2014. Submission fee is $35.
“All work must be ready for installation. Work may be very small to large, but must be able to fit through a standard door. Work may be pedestal, wall hanging, or ceiling hung. Small jewelry pieces should have their own display form or case,” write the show’s organizers. This juried show will be judged by John Simms, Katherine Donan & Sam Dowd. Three wonderful choices!
Guidelines and instructions are lengthy, but you can find out everything you need to know by contacting Thomas Macker at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the word “Metal Submission” in the subject field.