Dear SNAG Members,
We hope this finds you and your loved ones safe, healthy, and maybe even embracing a bit of mandatory downtime.
As you read this, you are very well aware of the impact COVID-19 is having on businesses — especially small businesses and nonprofits-in addition to individuals. SNAG is not exempt from feeling the economic impact. For the past couple of years, the Board of Directors was working to improve the long term financial stability of the organization. Before the pandemic was declared the organization was just breaking even, but canceling our annual conference has taken a significant toll.
We are writing to let you know that we have been working very hard behind the scenes to come up with a plan to keep SNAG moving forward during these challenging times. In order to keep SNAG solvent, the Board of Directors had no choice but to implement significant cost-cutting measures. We assessed staff positions, programming, and considered recent membership feedback on what you value most about the organization. Multiple scenarios are being explored in great detail to determine the best path forward.
As we look back at our first fifty years and consider how we can best assure our future, we have faced challenging decisions. Like many similar organizations, over the last few years, we have overextended and grown much larger than is sustainable, especially during this pandemic. As part of this streamlining and reorganization, we have found it necessary to eliminate both the Executive Director and Director of Education positions.
In the coming weeks, we will share more with you about our decision making process, restructuring plan, and details on what you can expect from SNAG in the coming days, weeks, and months. We want to hear from you, and hope many of you will reaffirm your commitment to the organization by lending your continued support and time as a volunteer.
Additionally, we started the process of refunding conference fees. We are offering additional ways to use that refund to buy books, renew your membership, or gift a Metalsmith subscription. We hope you will consider these new options! The refund process is going to take us some time but please know that we will process your refund as soon as we can. Please be patient with us.
Overall we value the strong sense of community within our organization, and your support is vital to ensuring SNAG’s survival. Our hope is that we will come out of this as a stronger, more robust community of artists, designers, makers, educators, curators, retailers, students, writers — all the unique individuals that are SNAG. Out of chaos can come innovation. We look forward to celebrating our perseverance and determination when we are able to meet again face to face.
Board of Directors – Society of North American Goldsmiths
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.
Society of North American Goldsmiths
SNAG celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is honoring its membership by highlighting different people on the SNAG website.
Please introduce yourself.
I am Lisa Koenigsberg and I’m the founder and President of Initiatives in Art and Culture (IAC). My own areas of expertise would be the history of American art and culture, with a deep commitment to contemporary jewelers and metalsmiths both here and abroad. My focus is on visual culture and all the projects we undertake have a dual commitment.
Our conferences explore visual culture and champion individuals, institutions, and organizations in varied media and materials. We bring together makers, growers, miners, retailers, journalists, financiers, regulators, and environmentalists both to trace the ties that bind individuals and communities along the continuum from extraction through fabrication to sale or investment using a cross-disciplinary approach, and to illumine the importance of each link in these remarkable chains.
Respect for materials, craft, and authentic expression are at the core for us. We’re particularly concerned with ethical practice and responsible sourcing, whether in textiles, gemstones, or precious metals, as in the annual International Gold Conference.
How did Initiatives in Art and Culture begin and how has the organization progressed or changed over the years? Can you tell our membership about what your position with the IAC entails and what the goals of the organization are?
When I was at NYU as Director of Programs in the Arts, I had developed a variety of annual multidisciplinary conferences. After watching the launch and development of a number of these programs, my then dean suggested that that this was a significant body of work which should exist as a separate organization. Fifteen years ago, I founded IAC with his help. We focus on visual culture, heritage and preservation—we bring together every sector or discipline under consideration. My goal has always been to bring together cutting-edge authorities, practitioners and artists and thought leaders to pursue fresh approaches to the world of visual culture with the ultimate goal of changing the culture.