Jun 11, 2019 – The Call
The View from Here
By now, most of us have had some time to recover from the excitement of Art-A-Whirl. I have heard from many people that this Art-A-Whirl was amazing! Lots of visitors flowed into the studios and many meaningful connections were made. Almost 60,000 users visited nemaa.org for the month of May, and in the Northrup King Building alone, 7,500 Art-A-Whirl directories were snapped up by eager Art-A-Whirl attendees. The NEMAA member survey is now open as well, so you can tell us about your experience (deadline is July 10, 2019).
Early summer has always been a time for NEMAA to pause and catch its breath; to assess and reflect, and to dream and plan before stepping back into the flurry of activity surrounding fall programming. This year is especially significant. June was the point on the horizon which we worked hard to reach since last October, a point which we hoped to see clearly which way the scales were tipping to know if NEMAA would continue on or close its doors.
The current prognosis? NEMAA will live!
We recently learned that NEMAA was awarded a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council grant for Operational Support, which pays for staff for the summer, and pushes our operating budget far enough out to reach the end of the year. Current financial projections indicate that by a slender margin, NEMAA will finish 2019 in the black, with all outstanding debts paid. Given the state of affairs last fall, it is a significant victory to be able to recover stability within less than a year.
However, NEMAA is not the organization it was a year ago, or three – and this is a good thing. While financial upheavals have temporarily weakened us, we have the opportunity to recalibrate and refresh initiatives that may not be reaching their full potential. Fall Fine Arts/AutumNE is one such program that needs to be reimagined, as we consider new spaces and a refresh in the exhibition model. First Thursdays is another program that merits a refocus, as it has the potential to become a series of fun and rewarding evenings for everyone – artists, visitors, and members of the community – but needs thoughtful orchestration and teamwork to create consistency and build momentum around the open studios.
We welcome your ideas. In fact, there is a section of the member survey dedicated to your suggestions, and how many hours you feel that you can personally give to making these ideas a reality.
Each year post-Art-A-Whirl, NEMAA conducts a survey among the membership to assess Art-A-Whirl and to collect some basic demographic info. The survey takes 5-10 minutes and is extremely useful for NEMAA in planning, reporting, and submitting grant applications. This year, there will be a drawing for two complimentary 2020 artist or gallery memberships along with a printed image in next spring’s directory. Winners of the drawing may also gift their memberships to another artist.
Come Talk to Us!
Representatives from the NEMAA board will be at Bauhaus Brewlabs on Thursday, June 27 for a summer NEMAA Night. We invite NEMAA members and potential members to come out and visit with us, and/or join the public for art-making with Anjee Mai Creations (tickets available here). This will serve as a fundraiser for NEMAA, with $1 for every beer purchased being donated to us. As always, non-alcoholic beverages will be available (Bauhaus has a nice kombucha). It promises to be a fun evening. Join us!
NEMAA Interim Executive Director
*Image: Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich