Spring is a very busy time for the Board and the Fellows, as we tackle the annual portfolio reviews for Signature and Fellow members, and continue working on the schedule for the 2nd National Marine Art Conference. As of the March deadline date for this column, much of the programming is still underway for the conference, since it will be held more than 5 weeks later this year in Mystic, CT. There are some new items updated on the conference in this issue. We will have another great lineup of presenters, filled with great learning experiences and fun! Be on the lookout for our ASMA E-news in your inbox to keep you informed on our progress.
Many thanks to our wonderful members who came through with donations for the annual capital fundraising effort for the Society! The Anchor to Windward campaign is very important to ASMA.
Over the course of approximately 8 years, the Board worked to set some resources aside annually, in an effort to build an emergency fund for the Society. With extremely limited funds, and no one really looking to take “the bull by the horns” to implement a plan for raising donations, headway was very slow, and this kept getting pushed to the back of the “to do” list.
During the last two years, we have made a concentrated effort to reach out to our members and ask for financial support to accomplish building a sizable capital account to assure that the Society will have a healthy future and have funds to sustain itself in the event of a difficult financial climate.
In the fall of 2015, ASMA set a full scale effort into motion by starting an annual capital fundraising campaign, which raised more than $10,000 in the first year. In addition to the fundraiser, there were numerous people who donated funds to ASMA throughout 2016 for specific programs, such as YMAS, also helped the Society. Most of those contributing members were recognized in the last issue of the Journal.
Some of the funds generated from the first National Marine Art Conference were also set aside for the capital account, with additional items that helped add to contribution total, such as selling ASMA hats, T-shirts and mugs at last year’s conference.
We continue to stay on track with the budget, and conserve where we can through the generosity of those willing to volunteer their time by performing specific duties that have saved the Society considerable money. A combination of all of these efforts has paid off. ASMA has made significant progress! A total of $17, 670 was raised during the annual capital fundraiser that ended January 31, 2017. This could not have achieved this without the help of our members and friends!
Special thanks go out to our top donors: Robert Kierlin and Mary Burrichter (our Lifetime Achievement Award winners at the 1st National Marine Conference), a generous Anonymous member, and William and Caroline Doying. Thank you for your gracious support and belief in the Society! All donors for the capital campaign from November 15, 2016 through January 31, 2017 are acknowledged in this issue of the News and Journal.
With the Society’s upcoming 40th Anniversary nearing, the Board set an interim goal to raise $100,000 for the capital account by our anniversary date in the spring of 2018. We have hurdled the $80,000 mark, which puts our goal within striking distance, as scheduled! It is our hope that members will continue to assist in bringing our long term goal to fruition.
On a different topic, the Society continues to update member’s services. We have signed up with a new company to assist us in the jury process for the annual portfolio reviews, in hopes of making the submission procedure easier for artists and jurors. We investigated several online programs and are confident members will like Submittable.com as our new system. Submittable collects the information and payments from the artist when their artwork is submitted, keeping ASMA’s involvement focused on the entries, thus reducing much of the administrative paperwork on our end. Once the portfolio reviews are completed, we will have a better feel for how the system worked and hope to continue using this for software for future Regional and National Exhibition submissions, in addition to the annual portfolio reviews.
In closing, the Executive Board and Fellows have received numerous letters from our members during the last year, regarding our conference, receptions for the 17th National, the overall performance of the Board and the camaraderie that has been shared between members. Many thanks for taking the time to express your personal experiences to us! The vast majority of your notes have been overwhelmingly positive, however we also recognize there is still room for improvement. Your comments help us to learn, and hopefully, do a better job for all of our members.
It can be challenging for new members to “fit in” and feel welcome in any group. This is on the top of my list to try and remedy. My personal experience has been to encourage people to volunteer in some small capacity, which helps break the ice. It is amazing what can come from a small act, and the personal enrichment that is waiting for you. There is always a place for you to share your expertise! We welcome hearing your thoughts.