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Peer Session Groups
Guilds/Membership Organizations and
Exhibition Galleries 

This session began with a rather lengthy introduction period which allowed each participant to express who they were and briefly describe their institution.  All individuals were interested in hearing how different or similar their galleries and organizations were to others in the group.  Individual participants discussed the organizational growth process and how their growth compared to various locations around the country.  Many concerns focused on the location of the organization’s facility and, in many cases, the deterioration of older buildings. Many organizations do not own the space they are using and this complicates their opportunities to grow and expand programming.

Developing a connection to the artists based and partners:
There is a great need to keep communication open between the organization, the artist, and potential partners.  In fact, organizations may need to provide the means for their artists to communicate with each other.  The problem most organizations face is having enough space and adequate facilities.  The need for space and opportunities for growth can be found through “partnership”.   Organizations must develop partnerships if they want to grow in the future.  There was discussion of a List Serve for specific disciplines and/or types of organizations.  This communication tool can provide an active exchange of information and assistance to artists and organizations.  Linda Van Trump noted the List Serves that will be provided as part of the new CODA website.  Public spaces can provide a good means for organizations to meet and/or exhibit and these spaces provide an opportunity for the public to be engaged.  Organizations find themselves constantly searching for funding because of the limited nature of current funding.  Again, partnerships are encouraged.   Organizations should get the word out in their communities regarding needs for space, funding, property, etc. 

Traveling Exhibitions:
CODA will be providing an information site regarding exhibitions as a part of their web site.   A major concern affecting all traveling exhibitions is liability.   Organizations need some kind of contract with the receiving entity indicating the space that will be provided and specific details for exhibition.

National Shows:
Questions plaguing organizations with regard to assembling National Shows focused on how often they should be hosted, how much time and trouble the organization undertakes, and the relative costs in relationship to profit.  In short, National Exhibitions that must be mounted with the organization handling shipping concerns, costs for catalogs and advertising, as well as additional staffing costs, often outweigh the benefits.

Using your community for displays:
Organizations will benefit from the identification of alternate gallery spaces – those not on the organizations premises – such as governmental offices (mayors, county officials, state office buildings, etc.).  Organizations must take great care to establish adequate security measures and be sure to assess potential liability issues.  Organizations will continue to struggle with the safety of artwork during traveling exhibitions.  Organizations often struggle with the concept of juried and non-juried exhibitions.  Organizations in smaller communities can have a rougher time in this decision process, running a risk of insulting or alienating local artists.  A system should be established that provides adequate and detailed information to each potential exhibitor.

How to find all the Guilds in your area:
Organizations should attempt to locate even the smallest potential partners in their areas.  Utilize statewide organizations or national organizations, such as CODA, to assist in identifying these groups.  The failure of organizations or success of organizations often depends on their willingness to partner on projects.  Funding agencies will often look more favorably on any proposal that includes a variety of partners as these proposals reach a greater number of potential viewers, thus allowing the agencies money to affect the lives of more people.

  










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