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Letter from the President – May 2020

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Dear SNAG Members,

It’s the end of May. This past weekend would have been our conference. In a normal world, we would be in Philadelphia wrapping up our 50th-anniversary celebrations and experiencing the fantastic face-to-face community event that our hard-working staff and volunteers put together.

Sadly, this is not a normal world. Like so many arts non-profits, SNAG had its ongoing financial struggles. The conference was such a large part of our budget that the annual success of the organization was very much beholden to the success of the conference. The Executive Director and the Board all understood that having to cancel about 60 days out would be catastrophic. For the organization to continue, major financial cuts would have to occur. A budget was created by the Executive Director and presented to the Board’s Executive Committee via email on April 12. After discussion, the budget was taken to the full Board for a vote on April 23. The budget, which included eliminating the ED position along with staff and programming cuts, was unanimously accepted. At that point, the Board began to consider the various programming options to keep SNAG open.

With the mounting costs of refunds and the day-to-day cost of operation, further cuts were required. Having to let go of hardworking dedicated SNAG staff has affected me deeply. These are individuals who have worked hard for this organization, and they are people I greatly respect.

Since that time, the Board has been working to find a way to keep the organization moving forward. We have consulted a number of professional voices offering different perspectives on how to create a new, more financially viable model for SNAG. They have presented a range of possibilities that we have been discussing.

Sustainability for the future of SNAG was our original goal for 2020. But the acceleration of change, maintaining the organization, and finding a path forward has not come without significant stress. Doing all of this has put a strain on my professional obligations, affected my family considerably, and negatively altered my personal well-being. As a result, I will not be able to continue as president of SNAG. I am appointing Kat Cole as Interim President with the Board’s approval, to finish my term until an election can take place for a new President. Kat is a celebrated jewelry artist and has been a vital member of the board since 2015. She is taking on the Presidency under unprecedented circumstances and I have every confidence in her ability to lead then board with fresh eyes towards a new future.

The foundation has been set and the board, staff, and members all want to see this historic organization thrive. Consider the things that you value about SNAG? Think about how the whole community can step up and continue the mission of inspiring creativity, encouraging education, fostering community, and finding new ways to collaborate and work together.

Brian Ferrell

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