Don't Forget to Vote: SNAG Elections 2011

It's an honor to have been asked to run for the Board of Directors of the Society of North American Goldsmiths. It will be an even greater honor if I get to serve. If you're a member, please take a moment to vote online now at this link.

If you're going to the upcoming conference, I'll see you in Seattle in just a few weeks. Personally, I can't wait. (The rumors that I'm buying drinks at the conference hotel for everyone, who votes for me is wholly unsubstantiated, though if I see you in the bar, I'll certainly pass the pretzels your way.) I look forward to the SNAG conference each year. It's my big chance to hang out with 800 other cool metalsmiths to whom I do not have to explain what I do for a living. Seriously, ever since I started attending conferences I've found that there is a tribe out there into which we all fit. My hope is to help sustain it and make it grow.

Here are my responses to the candidate's questionnaire which SNAG asked me to complete when I accepted the nomination to run for the Board of Directors.

Artist, educator, and author, Victoria creates one-of-a-kind wearable pieces of art and objects that evoke the mystery and splendor of ancient masters yet are infused with her own provocative vision. Her award winning work has appeared in numerous exhibitions, recently Metal Inclinations 2, CraftForms, and eXtreme Tea. She served as head of the Metalsmithing Department at Spruill Center for the Arts, Atlanta from 1997-2004 and was an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee. Her instructional series, Metal Techniques of Bronze Age Masters (Russian Filigree, Rings, All Chained Up, and Eastern Repouss√© and Chasing) and her iPhone™ app iMakeJewelry have sold throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Victoria earned her Bachelor of Arts in jewelry design and silversmithing at Georgia State University in 1993. Her artwork is collected around the world.

What are your interests in running for the board and what are you hoping to gain from your experience as a SNAG board member?

Within SNAG’s membership, I have found wonderful sanctuary and support as an artist. To serve as a board member would allow me to help expand and deepen such support for our diverse membership who seek opportunities, validation, artistic growth, professional development, or acceptance for our common passion.

How will the organization benefit from your participation? What expertise, experience, and strengths will you bring to the position?

I am constantly re-thinking and pursuing new ways of marketing my artwork and publications. Much of the success I have achieved has come through innovative use of resources to create a recognizable artistic voice and brand. That creativity, born of necessity, will benefit SNAG by providing another source of innovation in branding and marketing power for our organization.

What projects, activities, and/or services do you think are important to the organization? Are there projects, activities, and/or services that you are particularly interested in becoming involved with?

SNAG, like any professional organization, should be the voice of its members. If one thinks of lawyers, one naturally thinks next of the American Bar Association. If one thinks of business interests, the next thought is usually of the Chamber of Commerce. Similarly, SNAG should serve as an inclusive voice for metalsmiths. Branding of the organization should be a priority so that membership becomes a given, not an after-thought.

Many of our members are self-employed. We should explore options for providing insurance services to members, either through a broker who agrees to understand and respect the diversity of our members’ needs or through a company who agrees to treat us as a group for underwriting purposes.

Please address how your professional experience represents the various constituencies of the SNAG membership.

As a full-time artist who supports her family with her artwork and instruction in the arts, I have a unique opportunity to be SNAG’s voice to the broader metalsmithing community as I travel the country for exhibitions and workshops. As a past adjunct professor, I understand first hand the importance of supporting college metalsmithing programs, educators, and students, particularly during this time when many such programs have been or are in danger of being cut. As a free-lance educator, I communicate with diverse constituencies from hobbyists to professionals. That experience demands that I not only be an effective communicator but also an effective listener.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with the membership that is relevant to your candidacy?

When traveling and teaching workshops, I’m always saddened to hear how many art jewelers and metalsmiths I meet are not current SNAG members because they feel excluded. Sometimes it’s because they don’t hold degrees in the field or because they aren’t professionals. If SNAG is to be sustainable and continue to offer relevant support and opportunities to its members, then it must grow and be inclusive of everyone, who is passionate about metalsmithing no matter from what direction they came to it or in what stage of life they jumped into it. We must work together to educate and extend awareness for our form of art and craft not just within our field but throughout North America, as our name implies, and hopefully throughout the world.

No comments: