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.
SNAG’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Eleanor Moty.
Moty’s contribution to our field as a highly regarded artist, as a teacher, and as a mentor has been exemplary and worthy of SNAG’s highest honor. Moty has made an indelible impact on the field through the training and mentorship of generations of metalsmiths, and has made a sustained impact on SNAG itself though many years of support and involvement with the organization and as lifetime ambassador of SNAG within the broader national Crafts community.
In 1968 Moty received her BFA in jewelry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in 1971 she received her MFA in jewelry and metalsmithing from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia.
While an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, Moty began researching photo fabrication techniques and electroforming with the encouragement of her professor, Robert von Neumann, and she continued her research in the graduate program headed by Stanley Lechtzin at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia. She gained recognition for her pioneering work in photo fabrication techniques of photo-etching and photo-electroplating early in her career and in 1970 she was one of nine presenters at the first SNAG conference in St. Paul, MN. The topic of her presentation was Photo Fabrication. This introduction led to other speaking and workshop engagements and in 1972 her work was featured in Frontiers of Photography, in the Time-Life books series on photography. She was subsequently invited to participate in photography as well as jewelry exhibitions. Her work and research were featured in numerous books and articles and for more than a decade she taught photo-etching workshops at jewelry programs throughout the U.S.