I have just returned from our highly successful conference in Grand Rapids. It is always a thrill for me to see how well received our conferences are and to visit vibrant art communities. This time, it was the world-class Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. It is hard to imagine a more generous pair of patrons than Fred and Lena Meijer, who have given unimaginable gifts to their community and the world. After experiencing their generosity first-hand, it is more obvious than ever why the ISC chose to present the Meijers with the ISC’s Patron Award in Grand Rapids. Fred and Lena, thank you!
In addition to the opportunity to wander the wonderful Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, the Grand Rapids conference gave us an opportunity to present the ISC’s Educator Award to Ron Pederson under the watchful eyes of his fellow faculty and many of his past and present students. We were treated to a wonderful keynote by Jaume Plensa, as well as many interesting panel discussions. In all, it was another terrific ISC conference.
Before I return to art-related issues of interest in the January issue, I’d like to turn to everyone’s least favorite subject—fundraising. First, some good news: in September, the ISC Board of Directors met to honor past Board Chairman, Robert Duncan. Over 100 people attended a beautiful evening hosted by Marc and Kathy LeBaron. With the assistance of a Board matching grant, that evening’s gifts to the ISC have been directed to the founding of the ISC’s first permanent endowment. The establishment of a permanent endowment is yet another step in the growth and maturity of the ISC and a great testament to the stability and leadership that Johannah Hutchison has brought to the ISC during her tenure.
Notwithstanding this achievement, it is, of course, an especially difficult time to talk about money as economic turmoil surrounds us. Nevertheless, through good times and bad, nonprofit organizations like the ISC survive and provide services to their communities and constituencies only through the selfless generosity of their donors. As you probably know, the ISC is supported by advertising revenue, membership revenue, a bit of corporate and public foundation support, and a healthy dose of individual and family foundation giving. Although we hope that supporters will consider giving throughout the year, like many organizations we count on an “annual appeal” to remind our donors to think of us as the year draws to a close.
Despite the current economic environment—or perhaps because of it—we hope that you will carefully consider what the ISC means to you and what we do to support the community of sculpture. We ask you to consider that the more generous our donors, the more pages we can add to Sculpture, the more we can expand our Web site and membership benefits, the more students who can participate in our student award program and conferences, and the stronger your organization becomes. Please read the annual appeal letter from Magdalena Abakanowicz inserted at the end of this month’s magazine and give as generously as you are able.
We wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. See you in 2009.
Chairman, ISC Board of Directors