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Letter from the President – April 2020

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Dear SNAG Members,

It was just two months ago when I drove a group of my students to Baltimore to see the ACC show. Around that time I was also looking at train tickets to Philadelphia for the upcoming SNAG conference, but in the span of about two weeks, everything changed dramatically. Canceled shows, virtual exhibitions, homeschooling, and a canceled conference. This is a monumental loss for everyone. Not only will we miss the spirit of our community, but we’ll miss all of the great opportunities like Adorned Spaces, the trunk show, the gallery crawl. And in a larger sense, the general economic effect of this has touched all of you in the greater craft community personally.

We have a 50-year history as an organization, and this pandemic has shed light on the urgency for us to think about how we can evolve, push forward, and continue to build on what we have accomplished so far.  The board and staff of SNAG have stepped up and responded to this crisis. We have reached out virtually with Social Hour, Studio Tours, and our new In Conversation series.  Like so many other institutions, our backs are against the wall, and because many of the costs associated with the conference are paid well before the actual event; this is potentially catastrophic for us. As a result, we are implementing a plan to make up for this loss, but we can’t do it alone. We will need your help with this.  We will be distributing refunds for the conference over the next few months. This will take some time so we are asking for your patience, and we’ll need the support of the whole metalsmithing community as we navigate this difficult situation.

Right now we are making plans to take some of the conference programs to a virtual platform. But over the next few months, we will be putting some of our programs on hold as a temporary cost-saving measure. This will also require cutting staff so we can preserve the most vital parts of our organization. As of right now, all of our efforts are directed at maintaining Metalsmith magazine and having a conference in 2021. In the coming months, you will see a leaner SNAG and on the other side, we hope to have a more sustainable SNAG.

You’ll be hearing more from me in the coming weeks with details outlining our transition plan during this difficult time.

In the meantime, with no conference this May, I want to put out a call to everyone to share with us your favorite past conference experience. I can think of a lot of great memories.  At the 2018 conference in Portland, I got to watch four of my students present their collaborative piece at the Exhibition in Motion. Their looks of nervousness, excitement, and eventual satisfaction were infectious.  I look forward to moments like that again. Until we have that time together, I invite you to share your past conference experiences with us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #SNAGconferencememories in your post. Then take a moment to go on our Instagram profile and click the donate button, every bit will make a huge difference.

Please stay safe during this unprecedented time.


Brian Ferrell
Society of North American Goldsmiths

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