Back in October 2015, when storm clouds were gathering, a wise friend told me, “I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime, and sometimes mergers succeed and sometimes they don’t.” She was right, of course. The merger of the Folk Art Society of America with Longwood University, specifically the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA), did not work out, and the relationship has been dissolved by mutual agreement.
The Folk Art Messenger will continue as usual, as you can see by this current issue, #90, packed full of articles by generous and caring authors, news of events and exhibitions, book reviews, and moving tributes to the great artist Thornton Dial who died on January 25, 2016. Our excellent designer, John Hoar, is still on the job.
Plans for the 29th Annual Conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., are well under way, with Tom and Donna Brumfield as chairmen. The brochure is enclosed in this issue of the Messenger. The primary hotel, the Hampton Inn Downtown St. Petersburg, sold out quickly, but we have engaged a second hotel, the Hilton Bayfront, just a few blocks away. Hotel details are in the brochure, as well as details of the other events, the symposium, museum exhibitions, private collection visits, the benefit auction and a Folk Art Festival the same weekend. Sign up with the enclosed form or sign up on the FASA website through PayPal. We hope to see you there!
Memberships and renewals will be processed through the Folk Art Society as before, with the original post office address: P.O. Box 17041, Richmond, VA 23226. We have secured a new headquarters space in Richmond in our previous office complex, at 1506 Willow Lawn Drive, 23230, and the Folk Art Society Research Center will move there. We welcome visitors by appointment, and we hope you’ll come by the next time you’re in the area.
We are in the process of transferring a portion of the archival collections, specifically the files concerning the artists materials, to the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) in Richmond. The Historical Society is professionally organized and well staffed with 15 archivists, and they have extended a warm welcome to the Folk Art Society. We anticipate that this relationship will grow and benefit both organizations as we expand our involvement over the next few months and years, with an active presence on the websites of both FASA and the VHS.
The Folk Art Society’s award-winning website continues to be designed and managed by the talented Katharine Gates of Oculeum. She has spent several months redeveloping it so that it is now mobile friendly and constantly updated. We also enjoy working on the FASA Facebook page, and new articles and information are added almost daily. Many of the contacts for Messenger articles and news stories come from the Facebook page. Social media has become a necessary and useful communication tool.
The Executive Board of the Folk Art Society is pleased with the progress of the society, and we are working to ensure a smooth and seamless transition in the coming months. Please feel free to contact me or a member of the board if you have any questions or concerns. We are full of excitement and happiness in anticipation of the future of the Folk Art Society of America!