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Report from the National WCA “Impact” Conference

March 31, 2016

Michigan was very well represented at this annual WCA conference February 3 through 8, in Washington D.C..

Brenda Oelbaum, national President, and founder of the Michigan chapter, moderated the Lifetime Achievement Awards, ran the Executive Board meeting, and kept the whole event on the move. This is her last year as President.

Amanda Rogers, national Vice President, and as a member of the Young Women’s Caucus as well as past Secretary of our Chapter.

Heide Otto Basinger, national Vice President of Community Outreach, and as a WCAMI member

Margaret Parker, Chapter President, was there to represent Michigan members at the Chapters Council, and throughout the event.

Amanda and Heide were tasked specifically to bring back information on how to expand membership to the next generation of leadership through the national initiatives to engage new younger and more diverse people. For this initiative, the Chapter received a grant from the Michigan Council for Art and Cultural Affairs, through the Washtenaw Arts Alliance to send these two members to the conference. Good work for this achievement!

  • Amanda gleaned ten successful programming ideas to attract and retain young members, including giving scholarships, mentoring, offering critique sessions, curating shows of work by student artists, and starting a student WCA club.
  • Heide learned that a Student Club Pilot Program has been started and they have developed a successful format that other chapters can follow. She co-sponsored a recommendation at the National Executive Board meeting that defines the formation of WCA student clubs. It was approved and the board formed a new committee to support the WCA student club initiative. At the board’s request she is now developing a “Student Club start-up package”, to be put on the national website.

Heide and Amanda both attended the Lifetime Achievement Awards when they had the chance to meet personally the four nationally known women artists, see their work and hear how they developed as artists. They both attended a reception for “Trending: Contemporary Art Now” with a talk by Elizabeth K. Garvey, curator for the show, and artists from the show at Target Gallery in the Torpedo Factory, Alexandria, VA. A dinner was given at the home of Barbara Wolanin, past Curator of the United States Capitol, past WCA President and curator of “Impact”, the show of work by past Lifetime Achievement Award winners at American University Museum.

THANK YOU, AMANDA AND HEIDE, FOR BRINGING US THIS VITAL INFORMATION!

And thanks again to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and Washtenaw Arts Alliance for their support.

The Annual National Conference meets in conjunction with the College Art Assoc. Conference, which is the largest gathering of professionals in the arts in the country. Panels, a giant book sale, job fairs, and networking 24/7 are part of this event. It comes every year in the first week in February. Next year it will be held in New York City.

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