State of the Organization Address to the Seguin Art League at Texas Lutheran University on January 09, 2016 (duration: 16:30)
The State of the Organization Address
Fellow Art League Members,
Welcome to our State of the Organization Address and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to attend this gathering. We extend our gratitude to Tom Engler for his beautiful and inspiring music and to Mary Jo Langford for the insightful presentation on the arts in our community. Wow! What a great way to refresh and continue on the journey for this new year.
Connecting the arts and the community: this is our purpose.
What does the Seguin Art League do for the community?
Are we just a group of artists looking for a place to show and sell our art, or, are we a cultural beacon for the community?
Let’s look at the record.
In order to understand our involvement in the community, we need to take a look at the past. Since 1982, the art league has been moving and shaping the cultural landscape of Seguin by providing scholarships for local students, having exhibitions, hosting demonstrations and workshops, and actively participating in Seguin sponsored events such as, ArtsFest, Earth Day, Pecan Fest, Trade Days, and the Holiday and Fourth of July parades.
- During 2015, as in other years, we organized art exhibitions for the public to enjoy. We had two exhibits just for students: one for elementary and middle schools and the other for high schools. The remaining exhibits included one for painting, another for photography, one all media, and a members only show.
- In August, two of our members held a Summer Art Camp called “Super Heroes” for children of all ages, teaching a variety of media and techniques.
- As part of our fundraising efforts, we held 3 silent auctions.
- In December we hosted YuleFest the annual fine crafts sale at the coliseum,
- To support the arts in Seguin, two of our members are on the advisory board of The Seguin Commission for the Arts.
Artists are not timid in their dreams. Innovation does not happen without creative minds injecting constructive possibilities and alternatives to the status quo. To advance the arts, we embarked on a fantastic journey. We needed to expand cultural horizons. We needed a home, we bought a building. We started a new journey.
With enthusiasm and grit members made the initial steps. Teams formed to clear and clean the building. The art league received an early boost from the Seguin Main Street Program’s Fix-it Facade and with local contractors the front of the building received a facelift. Members went to work hosting fundraisers, submitting grants, requesting estimates to repair or replace the old and leaky roof. A new member with an engineering background along with others began the work of hiring an engineering company to study the structural integrity of the building. With the study and the final report nearly complete, we will soon have cost estimates for the necessary repairs for the roof, walls and foundation. At the meeting next Saturday, you will hear a status report of the findings to date.
With the building, there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is we have a building. The transformation of our home into a center for the arts calls out like a new-born for a colossal amount of tender loving care. No longer the art league of yesterday, we are new parents with responsibility to raise this child into adulthood. We must heed the clarion call for hard work and nurturing, endurance and resilience, intelligence and inspiration.
The good news is we have a building. What a gift it is, a blank canvas to write our legacy. Who better to nurture a building than artists whose purpose in life is to fill emptiness with beauty and perspective. What makes me burn with passion for this journey is you. This is a membership organization overflowing with goodwill, electrified energy, unbounded creativity and desire. The beauty of the Art League is that it is more than a building; it is you. Let us spread our creative wings. Each of us is a rich and vibrant tapestry of life with knowledge and wisdom. Our stories connect us to the past and the place where we stand today.
Have you seen the amazing, creative responses to the problems facing us? In order to receive hotel and occupancy tax funding, we needed to capture geographical data about visitors. We had them place their zip code on the back of raffle tickets. This was so clever, a city council member used it as an example for other organizations to follow. Look at how we created a water catchment system for the leaking roof, or found a way to raise money with leftover wood found in the building. By the way, the wooden christmas ornaments were just adorable and a success.
The renovation of the building may appear overwhelming, yet we are moving forward. We are improving our organizational capacity through a major revision of our Bylaws and Standing Rules. Efforts are under way for a strategic plan for the organization, a masterplan for the building, plans for improving community outreach and for development. I am not saying that we are not going to have our moments of: “Houston we have a problem” but we shall endure and thrive.
The destiny of our building, the Klein Opera House, is to be the locomotive that propels the Art League into its role as a cultural force/beacon in the community. This home of the arts is a promise for the future, a blank canvas that will enable people to tell their story, to share their talents and combine their passions. Our dream for this town of a grandiose space is to not only share our art but to welcome the works of artists from around the globe. We do this to let Seguin shine by connecting the arts with the community so that everyone feels a little bit taller and a little bit happier.
Great things happen when a community comes together for a common cause. Look at the economic development activities with all new businesses moving here. Three bond issues passed by an overwhelming majority of the citizens for education, knowledge and recreation. Texas Lutheran University opened a department of nursing, a sports stadium and there are plans for the Caroline M. Westin Performing Arts Center. A new boutique hotel restaurant is now open on the square. Seguin is in motion and entering a golden age and we are an important part of it. Our future is bright.
Now is the time, today is the day. We embark on our finest hour bound to the common cause. At this historic moment, everybody’s slice of genius must be unleashed and harnessed to turn the wheels of progress into a collective and sustainable solution for this endeavor. Each of us has the responsibility for the success or failure of this organization. We are here today to promise that we shall get to the promised land together. For this mission, failure is not an option.
May God bless us and May God bless the Seguin Art League and May God bless the most talented town in the Guadalupe Valley.