Tuesday, December 20, 2011

an important message from Jane Dunnewold

It was an immense pleasure to have Jane Dunnewold at the 2011 Michigan SDA Holiday party. She spoke to us about the organization and our role in it with passion, it was very inspiring.

We asked Jane if she would be kind enough to convey the message a second time in written form so that we could post her words on the blog and she happily agreed. 

Below is her message - many thanks Jane!


SDA is transforming. The association (which means literally, a group of people who share a love of the same thing) has passed the 30+ years mark, and like so many other organizations, has been feeling a need for change.

What's change look like for SDA?

** More benefits for members. You pay dearly for your membership - we at the board level are looking very hard at what you get for these dollars. 

What do you need?

Based on conversations I've been having around the country, you need exhibition opportunities, exposure, enhanced website networking, mentoring and connections. It's disheartening to work in a vacuum - isolation saps energy and poignantly reminds us that we need other people to flourish.

SDA is committed to blowing vibrancy into your relationships with other artists, with top level board volunteers and staff, and with your work - which is the most important relationship of all. And we especially want to accomplish this by partnering with fiber arts organizations that already have a presence in Michigan. By working together, all boats rise!

** You need great opportunity at the local level. SDA conferences are great. The SDA Journal is renowned. But it's the monthly connections, exhibitions in local venues, small gatherings in the homes to critique work; sharing joys and frustrations - that means the most to working members.

Next year we intend to double the money we commit to local Small Event Grants, add a library of How To documents (accessible to any member) and mount a new initiative to build the Swatch Library (one of our most popular collections - and one available to any member who requests a loan of the samples.)

There are other big ideas and I know we can accomplish them. An online sales gallery. Online exhibitions. Regional symposiums.

But this is a two way street.

You in Michigan have the opportunity to be a model for other local / state organizations. You've got the numbers and more importantly, you've got the know-how and the enthusiasm. 

I was thrilled to meet with eighteen SDA members early in December, and to hear that there were many more who couldn't attend the holiday party, but were eager to be involved. Participation is the key. You may think you don't matter.

But you DO.

Because no matter how many big ideas I have, no  matter how many big ideas are floated at the national level, it all comes down to what we do together on the local level.

It's the start of a New Year.

The trick is figuring out what members bring to the table. What do you know how to do? How would what you know benefit SDA Michigan? That's all we have to do: share out abilities and our resources, decide what sort of project to tackle first and then GO FOR IT!

Symposium? Weekend workshop with a nationally know instructor? An open-ended retreat? Together you can choose a project, and together WE can accomplish it.

I am here, and all ears. Feel free to write me any time, but more importantly, speak with each other, and with Susie and your SDA Ambassadors. Let's raise a little energy and get a few good things going!

My best to you,


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