I cannot believe that the 27th IDAL Annual Convention and Exposition at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, NV is over. I’m home now and almost into my usual routine, but I am still in a state of excitement over all the wonderful happenings at convention. So many people worked endless hours to bring you this special event: the IDAL Board of Directors, their chairs and committees, the Offinger staff, vendors at Expo, sponsors and instructors. I would like to thank each and every one who pitched in and drew on their special talents! I’d like to name each and every one, but that would take a couple issues of Artisphere Online.
Two questions were recently asked on IDAL’s Facebook page, 1. “What was your favorite part of convention?” and 2. “Why aren’t you here?” First question: I can’t think of a single thing that was my favorite, it was ALL wonderful. How can I possibly sum it up in a paragraph or two (or three or four)? Here is the short version…Of course it is always wonderful to reunite with friends; many of us only see each other once a year. I love to meet new people, many of whom I know only from online forums.
Dru Blair started things off with his Keynote Speech at the Annual General Meeting. What a remarkable career/life he has had. And did I hear him correctly? Did he say he going to start up a college? Goodness, now that is impressive!
Expo was filled with vendors showcasing their fabulous new tools, products and techniques. I wanted everything they were selling but how would I have gotten it home and where would I put it? Still trying to figure out where to put what I did bring home (hope there aren’t too many more UPS boxes!). New events that took place in Expo drew large crowds and some very interesting talents. The Best Finishes Competition had about 20 entries and attendees chose Ed Mattingly the winner. Eva Gallant was voted winner of the Painted Apparel Fashion Show and Competition with her lovely shawl. There was some fierce competition in both the Silent Auction and ‘Just Saying’ Scavenger Hunt to see who was to take home sensational prizes donated by our generous vendors. And what can I say about the Painting to the Music except that I was blown away by nine very talented and brave artists who got up on stage and let the music unleash their creative juices.
Instructors were asked to submit cutting edge workshops with fresh ideas that will translate to happy clients and money in your pockets. They delivered! New instructors, new methods, new techniques and new panels! It was thrilling to see the pieces produced by eager students. Attendees were treated to two very educational and entertaining CEU rated lectures, Jackie Jordan of Sherwin Williams Colormix 2013 and iLia Anossov, or as he calls himself iLia Fresco of The Fresco School. Both were excellent presentations.
The Veteran’s Guest House of Reno was the recipient of this year’s Philanthropic mural. There was always a crowd painting, contributing their time and talents to create the beautiful mural submitted by Carrie Wright and Kathy Hammond of Texas. A lot of teary eyes were seen at the dedication ceremony attended by IDAL members, Veteran’s Guest House Board of Directors and supporters and VFW convention goers at the Grand Sierra Resort with us…what timing that was. Will any of us ever forget the strange and fascinating costumes they wore? I know I won’t!
OK, now to the second question on Facebook. Photos and videos were posted during convention of Expo, events, people, workshops and anything that caught our fancy (including some of the VFW guys) asking the big question “Why aren’t you here?” Good question, why weren’t you in Reno? We missed you, but most of all, you missed all the good times, the inspiration, the exposure to other artists who know and appreciate what you do, who are willing to share with you their expertise and talent and most of all you missed the most anticipated annual gathering – the International Decorative Artisans League Exposition and Convention!
We are a strong organization of talented artists from around the world. No doubt about that. We are holding our own and only getting stronger. We want to grow in number so the board has put together some exciting programs to entice new members and enhance your membership. Be on the lookout for more on member benefits. We’ll be talking about them and a lot more in future issues of Artisphere Online. Some things to watch for are in-depth articles highlighting events at convention and board member portfolios and upcoming events. Don’t forget this is your magazine, if you’ve got something to write about, let us know!
In closing I’d like to say if you were a part of this year’s convention in Reno, thank you from the bottom of my heart and if you weren’t, I missed you and truly hope to see you next year in Indianapolis. Convention for me and I’m sure most who attend is a time to be inspired to create, to feed my soul and surround myself with talent so extraordinary it makes my head spin. Thank you for your support of IDAL.
INTERNATIONAL DECORATIVE ARTISANS LEAGUE
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE MEMBERSHIP
JULY 26, 2012
REPORT TO THE MEMBERSHIP
PRESIDENT’S REPORT (Julie Stonehouse)
I would like to thank the board for their creativity and ingenuity in bringing you the best IDAL Convention and Expo ever. Your board had a productive mid-year meeting this year in Reno, to not only plan the convention but to discuss the future direction of our organization. I really appreciate all their energy and contributions to better IDAL.
That said, we are weathering the economic storm as best we can, but no one knows when sunnier days will return. I am happy to report that our loss of members has slowed down and that we’ve put a very realistic budget in place to ensure that our organization continues on well into the future. In addition, we renewed our contract with Offinger Management at the 28% discounted rate that was negotiated last year for the next two years. As part of that contract, we switched over to a new membership database that allowed us to change our website to a more modern and user-friendly platform. Changes that need to be made to the website can now be handled by our Executive Director, rather than through Offinger’s tech department, making updates quicker and simpler to perform. The website is still a work in progress, but we needed to rush to put it all in place for convention registration. I hope you’ve noticed the change and like what you see.
Lastly, I want to thank Penny Sitler for the job she has done in the last four years as IDAL’s Executive Director and to wish her the best in her new duties at Offinger. Meanwhile, I hope you have the opportunity to meet and greet our new Executive Director, Karen Knies, while at the show.
FINANCIAL and EDUCATION (Carolyn Blahosky, Treasurer and Education Board Liaison)
As the economy continues to struggle in our country, IDAL has felt the effects as well. Your board and Offinger Management Company have worked hard to hold down costs and have shown a positive net income as of May 31, 2012 once again, putting IDAL in good financial standing.
IDAL had a difficult time choosing instructors this year. We had 80+ applicants to fill only 37 workshops, posing quite a challenge for our Selection Committee. The committee did an excellent job reviewing the applicants and recommending workshops for you to take. Enjoy each class you take as you embark on a new adventure in decorative painting.
It has been a pleasure serving on your Board of Directors for the past three years. Thank you everyone who worked with me in encouraging the continuance of IDAL.
MEMBERSHIP/CHAPTERS (Ed Mattingly, Board Liaison)
We have added two new chapters this year with a third on the way. Chapters have been busy working to retain members and increase turnout to chapter meetings. Chapter Presidents have been very good at communicating concerns and best practices to the board via monthly email communications as well as in person during chapter visits. We are looking for ways to increase excitement via networking events with interior designers and contractors. We are also trying to inject fresh blood in our organization via ASID, PDCA and additional outreach to art schools. Members seem to be busier this year with projects than last year and we hope to capitalize on this momentum to grow our membership numbers.
CONVENTION/VOLUNTEERS (Shelia Sobczyk)
To maintain the appeal to professional decorative artisans, IDAL continues to seek out Convention venues that accommodate our growth as an organization and our educational demands. This year’s attendance has already surpassed 2011and 2010. With the selection of a venue in the Midwest for 2013, the IDAL board anticipates this trend to continue. As part of the board’s continuous efforts to streamline expenses and manage resources, the board combined the Board Liaison position and the Volunteer/Monitor Chair positions. With the management company taking over many of the duties previously managed by volunteers, this position was no longer necessary.
BUSINESS/SPONSORSHIP/EXPOSITION (Janie Gulick)
Despite the down economy, I am happy to say IDAL and you, our members, are still here. Every one of us has had to scale back one way or the other. You may notice fewer vendors than in previous years but don’t let that dissuade you from spending time in the Expo. Work started at our last convention in Hampton, Virginia to bring together this superb group of merchants anxious to exhibit their new products and techniques. You will even find several new exhibitors. Some of our loyal supporters had to make the difficult decision not to show at Expo. The reasons varied from financial difficulties to scheduling conflicts to personal family matters. We have also been in contact with many businesses new to IDAL that, although they cannot attend this year, are looking forward to the 2013 convention. We’ve looked outside the faux community and found many that want to involve themselves with IDAL. Be on the lookout this coming year for new exhibitors ranging from lighting to casein paint to ceramic tools and more. I would like to personally thank Susan Mathers (Expo Sales) for her determined efforts to make this one of the best Expos ever.
IDAL News and Artisphere Online have both been featuring articles regarding new events on the Expo Floor. We have designed these events to entice you, to let your creative juices flow and in some cases to win wonderful prizes donated by our amazing vendors. New to Expo are Best Finishes Competition, Painted Apparel Fashion Show and Competition, “Just Saying”’ Scavenger Hunt and Painting to the Music/Speed Painting. The Lecture Series is back; please don’t miss either iLia Anossov or Jackie Jordan.
Sponsorship money is down from the past few years due once again to the struggling economy. However we did receive some very generous contributions. A few specifics are Registration Bags and Water Bags/Bottles, Demo Area, Wine and Cheese Reception and paints and canvas for Philanthropic and Painting to the Music. Also we are extremely appreciative for donations from Chapters and individual members.
ARTISPHERE ONLINE/WEBSITE (Anthony Pinkston, Board Liaison)
I would like to start off by thanking our marketing chairperson Kathy Allen not only for her tireless efforts in graphic design, but also for the many calls and contacts she made and coordinated to promote this year’s convention. I would also like to thank IDAL member Leslie Mitchem for her help as our “person on the inside” and for her help in reaching out and distributing IDAL literature to Reno artists, paint stores, and design centers. Lastly I would like to thank Pat Ganino for his contribution not only with Artisphere Online, but his regular posts and clips on the IDAL Facebook page.
Marketing an organization such as IDAL and our annual convention can be somewhat tricky. With a limited budget we rely heavily on our members and industry partners to help spread the word. Oftentimes, however, it seems that we are “preaching to the choir” so to speak, as anyone who has been around awhile and a member of IDAL obviously knows a convention is coming. Of course we all need to know where the location will be and are excited to see who will be teaching what amazing workshop, but truthfully we all know the benefits and values to be had, otherwise we wouldn’t already be involved.
Here is where the challenge comes in: how do we reach new people interested in decorative arts? I am happy to report that we may have stumbled onto an affordable way to do just that. Being at a loss on how to reach a broad audience that hadn’t already been inundated with IDAL through the usual challenges, I reached out to a few friends and a suggestion came from IDAL member Mindy Harrell to try a Facebook ad. Facebook allows you to specifically target a market based on user profiles. This allowed us to target only people who utilized certain key words in their profile descriptions, primarily their interests and professions. The market can then be narrowed to specific states. The ads are very brief and designed to direct you to our Facebook page, where you can easily relay your desired message. Lastly the ads are only seen by those who don’t already have an affiliation with the Facebook page, meaning you won’t be advertising to those who already know about you (preaching to the choir).
A decision was made to run an ad in the western states for 30 days leading up to convention and I am happy to report that in the 10 days the add has run the IDAL page has 228 new likes, meaning 228 people who didn’t know about IDAL before, have not only been exposed, but have shown enough interest to make note of it. If you consider that IDAL had only 1214 likes when we started and we have grown almost 20% in just 10 days, the results are quite exciting. By the time you all read this, we should be closer to 1800 likes and a 50% increase in Facebook exposure, all of which is coming from new blood. I am very excited about this new tool and expect to see it used from here on out to not only promote convention, but to continually introduce and promote IDAL to a new audience.
RESOURCES (Leslie Nesbitt)
The Resource Portfolio supports a broad base of our core membership initiatives that focus on sustaining history, fundraising, checking and keeping the pulse of our membership through surveys and analysis. In fulfilling this charge, this year we were challenged with having to examine and rethink best ways to stream line, update and restructure some of our traditional committees against a dynamically different and changing backdrop. For example, getting members to volunteer and serve as committee chairs was a particular challenge this year. Not because the enthusiasm was not there, but rather because there were other critically pending “life” situations that would impede on being able to provide the time and attention needed to carry out associated activities/tasks. As a result, we were successful in determining what information, tasks, functions and responsibilities were critical; establishing a “realistic” time of commitment; best ways to capture information from chapters without making it overly complicated and finally how to best communicate it on an annual basis to our general membership.
We have also increased our focus on building and implementing our Annual Donor Program. You may recall receiving an Annual End-of The Year Appeal Letter asking you to keep IDAL in mind as you consider your end of the year donations. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the financial support that our members and friends donate helps IDAL to continue and enhance member services, chapter development and strengthen the organization. Our ongoing funding programs include: Partners-In-Education, Adele Bishop Fund and IDAL General Fund. In terms of strategic planning we did not address this task fully this year. The new web site is up and the member gallery is active and ready for members to upload their recent works.
CERTIFICATION/PHILANTHROPIC/ NOMINATIONS (Steve Wallis, Board Liaison)
This year is going to be a banner year when it comes to certification. Cathy Rinn is heading up the certification process. This year we currently have over 15 items to judge. Last year there were just four items with no passing entries. With the number of entries this year we are very optimistic that several should pass and receive their certification. Thanks to Cathy and her team of judges!
The philanthropic project is being donated to a cause that is very near to my heart. The project will be the Veterans Guest House which is a facility that houses family members as their loved ones get treatments at the VA hospital. Noreen Leary, the COO of the Veterans Guest House has been incredibly instrumental in helping us with the mural project for her facility. In addition I have been extremely fortunate to have Natalie Gorden accept the chair position. Natalie is a muralist who lives in the Reno area. She has been phenomenal at getting all of the logistics worked out for us and assembled a committee to judge the entrees. I personally want to thank both Natalie and Noreen for all of their help in this matter!
I have to tell you that this has been quite a journey for me personally. As a Vietnam era vet it makes me happy to give back to all of those that have sacrificed so much for our country and our freedom! Now let’s all show up to put our own personal signature, a brush stroke or two, on the mural that will bring smiles and happiness to all of our veterans! They deserve it……and we owe it to each and every veteran; remember to thank a Vet!
This year we had a really good group of folks that sought to become IDAL Board members.
I have to thank Bob and Cindy Andrews with all of their help in putting together the slate of nominees and keeping the dialog open with me as the process unfolded. We have three new incoming board members: Kathy Wear, Kami Tremblay and Theresa Cheek. We are very excited to have new members with fresh thoughts to bring to the board. Congrats to all three and we look forward to working with each one of you!
PAST PRESIDENT, COMMUNICATIONS (Linda Banning)
March of this year was the first anniversary of Artisphere Online. During that time we received some feedback from members (surprisingly few) who preferred the printed format. Most of the Board members have felt the same and “going digital” was a very difficult decision that had been put off as long as possible in hope the economy would rebound. Even though advertising was selling very well in the print edition, IDAL was still losing over $40,000.00 per year. It was a loss that IDAL could not continue to sustain. Ad sales in the new Artisphere Online have been somewhat lackluster in spite of the very good response from readers and the very good stats. We attribute that to converting advertisers to a new format as well as the continued financial stress of a 4th year in recession.
As editor of the IDAL News, my mission was to bring consistency back to the monthly publication, heighten awareness of IDAL projects and events, and also to work in promoting our primary publication – Artisphere Online. Those particular goals have been achieved and can be verified in that IDAL News has been published and sent every month, open rates are above normal, there have been far more new subscribers and visitors to Artisphere Online surge when the News goes out.