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Letter from the President – July 2020

Kat Cole 2020 SNAG Board

Dear Fellow SNAG Members,

It was just over a month ago that the Board of Directors appointed me as Interim President, a position I am honored to step into despite current challenges. The global pandemic and our ongoing financial instability has affected our organization in significant ways, forcing us to make tough decisions in an uncertain world. The expediency of these decisions were made in an effort to keep the organization operational so that we can continue to serve our membership and community.

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the board members who recently completed their terms: our Secretary for the past 7 years, Becky McDonah, Emily Stoehrer, board member for 3 years, Dianne DeBeixedon, who has graciously agreed to stay on the board for an additional year, and former President Brian Ferrell who needed to step away after our difficult spring. I would also like to thank Andrew Kuebeck for serving as the Nominations and Elections Committee Chair and welcome Sharon Massey to the Chair position on the NEC. Thank you April Wood for stepping into the Secretary position, and I am pleased to welcome Anne Havel back to the board for a one year appointed term. Keeping institutional knowledge at this time is critical for the success of the organization and we look forward to the upcoming newly elected board members joining us in the fall.

In addition, SNAG is overdue to acknowledge, with appreciation, former staff who have served our organization. Gwynne Rukenbrod Smith, who served as SNAG’s Executive Director for 6 ½ years, Kristin Mitsu Shiga, our Education Director for 2 years, Kinszia Erikson, our Arts Administration Intern for 3 years, and Alejandra Carrillo-Estrada, our Conference Planning & Education Intern for 1 ½ years. SNAG truly appreciates the time and dedication that each of these individuals has given to our community and I wish them all the best in their future endeavors.

For the last two months, the SNAG staff and board have been working to reorganize around a much smaller budget and staff in order to continue to provide the programming and magazine that our membership values. We are giving member updates through our weekly Riveting News emails and I would like to highlight a few of our current projects:

  • Instituting new committees to assist staff and programming. This includes new Social Media and Communications, Grant Writing, and Publications Committees. Interested in volunteering?
  • Releasing the Jewelry and Metals Survey Volume 3 digitally to all of our members. Coming soon! Plus we are taking pre-orders for print copies and offering a special rate to bundle it with Volumes 1 and 2. Learn more
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Dialogues for members, staff, and board to have conversations around diversity and equity in SNAG and opportunities to improve. Dates to be announced here

For the first time in our history, the annual Membership Meeting, usually held at the conference, will be held virtually on Saturday, August 29th. We are planning presentations on programming, financials, the future of our annual conference, and the newly elected officers will be announced. This meeting is the best platform for you to stay informed and involved about what is going on with the organization and I encourage you to attend.

During a time when many institutions are closing their doors permanently, the measures that have been taken in recent months have allowed SNAG to avoid bankruptcy and provided the possibility of a stronger, more sustainable future. However, the board and staff cannot do this alone. SNAG is a member-driven organization and we need your help in order to survive and thrive. This means financial help — both the board and staff realize this request for support is coming at a time when most people are hurting financially. However, IF you can help, please consider making a donation today. Any amount is helpful and greatly appreciated in order for your organization to get through this difficult time. Thank you to all of our recent donors.

In closing, I would like to also mention that this global crisis has touched each and every one of us. Members have lost loved ones, jobs, and financial security. For those who have felt the biggest blows — our thoughts are with you, and we are all very much looking forward to when we can join together again and celebrate the field, and each other. I would also like to say that during these challenging times please reflect on what is important to you. What is meaningful and valuable to you. I encourage everyone to stay active in what you believe in and invest in the people and organizations you care about.

I hope this finds you all well, safe and healthy, and I look forward to seeing you at the Membership Meeting on Saturday, August 29th.


Kat Cole
Interim President
Society of North American Goldsmiths

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