I am elated to report it has been a very rewarding year in so many ways for our ASMA family! Many of you will have the opportunity to “re-live” a bit of the 2nd National Marine Art Conference that was held in Mystic, CT this past October through the images and stories included in this issue of the News and Journal. For those of you who were unable to join us, we hope you will gain some insight about what a pleasurable experience this was for the group. The entire five days were idyllic weather in New England for our event!! We had a sellout crowd of more than 175 attendees. THANK YOU for being part of this relatively new adventure! It has been a wild ride and learning curve coordinating the presentations, facilities, meals, calculating expenses and attendance, but we have proven that it is a worthy effort to bring learning opportunities and the enormous gift of camaraderie that has been given to all of us.
We realize there is room for more unchartered experiences too! With two conferences now under our belt, we have just started to challenge ourselves about learning experiences. There is so much talent in our organization, we are grasping the importance of drawing more members in to help us keep future events viable. Our goal was to hold a National Marine Art Conference when we do our National Exhibitions every three years. By following this plan, it would allow us to keep it fresh, re-group and seek out new presentations for our artists. We need to focus on our Signature Members in the future, who have so much to offer. Please let us know if you would be interested in presenting, or helping with planning efforts! We will re-evaluate how often to try to do a conference. Please feel free to give us your input.
We also need to focus on developing a younger membership base. We love the friendships we have built over the years, as our group celebrates its 40th ANNIVERSARY in 2018!! We also acknowledge that it is our duty and a never ending challenge to bring in new blood to the Society. The conference is helping us to achieve this, and expansion of the YMAS program could help with this goal too.