Message from the Interim Director – Winter 2015

Message from the Interim Director – Winter 2015

Article by  Ann Oppenhimer 

By now, it is hoped that everyone knows that the Folk Art Society of America has become part of the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts at Longwood University (FASA@LCVA) in Farmville, Va. Most of the structure of the Folk Art Society will remain the same. The Folk Art Messenger, the annual conference, the FASA website and the Facebook page will continue as usual, with the same standards and the revised volunteer board and staff. A few things might be a bit different but it is hoped that the members will understand that necessary change occurs in the course of an entity’s existence and development.

Longwood has placed some restriction and directives on the Folk Art Society. Over the years, the Board of Directors and the National Advisory Board had expanded to include 52 members. There were no term limits or rotation, so it was essentially a perpetual appointment.

Longwood representatives suggested that a smaller and more active board be appointed that would be a true working board composed of members who regularly (1) attended the conferences, (2) donated to the auction, (3) wrote for the Messenger and/or (4) helped with the conferences, etc. The new Advisory Board, consisting of 24 members, is pictured on the FASA website:, and in this issue of the Messenger. Also pictured are members of the Executive Board and the four Ex-Officio members of the board representing Longwood University.

FASA@LCVA Advisory Board: 1st Row: William Oppenhimer, Randall Lott, Betty-Carol Sellen, Ann Oppenhimer. Marilyn Bradley, Harriet Finkelstein, Carol Millsom, Susan Crawley. 2nd Row: Wyatt Collins, Ruthe Glennon, Vic Weisskopf; Barbara Weisskopf, Lynne Browne, Carol Crown, Ted Weiller, Jean Weiller, Beth Arient, Orren Bradley. 3rd Row: John Willett, Jim Sellman, Bill Glennon, Peter Wendel, Cheryl Rivers, Tina Cox, Jim Arient.

The original four members of the Executive Board were retained but with rearranged titles, such that James Sellman is now the President, Ann Oppenhimer is Interim Director, Tom Brumfield remains the Vice President and William Oppenhimer is the representative to the LCVA board from FASA. Each of these members has strong ties to both FASA and Longwood University through their contributions to its folk art collection and other commitments. Under the chairmanship of Wyatt Collins, the revised By-Laws of the Folk Art Society are now being finalized. The LCVA is doing the same with its By-Laws. The organization charts of both FASA and the LCVA are being restructured to accommodate the affiliation of FASA with Longwood. One of the changes in the FASA By-Laws provides term limits for advisory board members on a rotating basis. The intention is to change the constituency of the board as the members rotate. Several former members have resigned for health or personal reasons. However, those former members who wish to become more active and resume their places on the new board will be encouraged to so request.

The usual growing pains are to be expected, and consequently revisions in the structure of both entities will occur. But it is hoped that in the end there will be a workable and working board that will make the transition proceed as smoothly as possible.

The Folk Art Society’s office was moved from Richmond to Farmville, Va., in February 2015, and the archives and library will be the start of the Folk Art Study and Research Center at Longwood University. Soon after, the financial aspects of the society – membership, support for the Folk Art Messenger, and contributions for the endowment – will be handled by Longwood University personnel. Note, however, that the FASA at LCVA funds will be held as a strictly separate entity.

The Folk Art Society is now raising funds to provide salary and support for a permanent, full-time director of the Folk Art Society, who will eventually manage the society in its new structure. The proceeds thereof will be matched by Longwood. Contributions for the endowment fund should be sent to: Longwood University Foundation, 201 High Street, Lancaster 130, Farmville, VA 23909, and plainly marked in the memo line: For Folk Art Society Endowment.

The Folk Art Messenger will be supported separately from the endowment fund. Contributions in addition to basic membership dues will be necessary and welcomed. On-going submission of articles and notices of regional events are also essential. For the present, the mailing address for membership and the Messenger will remain: P.O. Box 17041, Richmond, VA 23226.

Rachel Ivers, Director of the LCVA; Jill Manning, Assistant Director of the LCVA; Carol Crown, Conference Chairman; and Ann Oppenhimer will continue to make arrangements for the 28th FASA Conference in Memphis, Tenn., to be held November 5-8, 2015. Reservations are already being made at the Peabody Memphis Hotel (1-800-PEABODY). To date, more than 25% of FASA’s allotted room block has been reserved, so please make your reservation soon. This conference is shaping up to be another excellent event. We hope you will plan to attend!

We appreciate your continuing support during and following this transitional period of the Folk Art Society’s affiliation with Longwood University. We believe this is the best path to the future strength and success of the Folk Art Society of America.

ANN OPPENHIMER is the Executive Director of the Folk Art Society of America

As seen in the Folk Art Messenger:

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