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Volunteer Meeting Minutes

Tuesday June 19, 2012

Summer Sessions I: Big Ideas

location: Washington Street Art Center, outside on the back lawn.
time:7pm - 8:30pm
minutes recorded by Nicholas Shectman

Open with Chatting and Refreshments

Rachel Mello, coordinator 2013. Started working on SOS in 2006 a little, worked more heavily 2007 2008 2009, joined the board in 2009, took a step back in 2011, then took over as coordinator after 2012.

Melitta King, coordinated film festival with SCAT last year. Have been going to SOS since moved to Somerville, bringing friends and family. It's a lot of fun. I'm a filmmaker, have done some animation, helped Lisa with getting ready to film the fashion show, about to go through the footage.

Peter Belford, President of SOS, Coordinator in 2010. At Vernon St but have been working more as an architect lately than as an artist. I am a painter in heavily textured acrylics.

Rowan McVey, exhibiting for a few years, photographer, exhibit out of own home. Friend of Rachel M's. Working on membership.

Matt Kaliner, attending for 12 years, getting doctorate at Harvard, dissertation on open studioses and urban change. Observer and fan. Writing a book about us.

Nicholas Shectman, treasurer for the last couple of years. Coordinator 2008 and 2009.

Rachel Silber, had a studio at Vernon St since 2008. SOS hooked me up with my space there! helping out since 2007 or 2008, usually in small ways, working on museum show or map book distribution or what have you. I have another volunteer commitment that's cutting into my available time but I'm here to see what I can do.

Raj Ramaiah showing at SOS for a few years. Mainly volunteering on design and web site. Have a home studio, sculptor and designer.

Judith Prager, have shown in every OS except the first one. In my home studio on Belmont Pl. My husband John O'Brien started to paint 10 years ago and now takes up part of my exhibition space. Moved to Somerville 30 years ago and had no idea it would be like this. I paint in oils and occasionally some acrylics.

Lee Kilpatrick, photographer, have been in every OS since the first one. Photos of people, candids. Director of WSAC, where we are meeting; we have studios and a gallery.

Nancy Anderson, This was my first time participating in SOS. Got an enormous response. Attending an SOS years ago drew me to Somerville.

Discussion: Open floor to any 'Big Ideas'

Rachel M. People often tell us they get involved in SOS for a sense of community. Hopefully coming together to work on the event can help create that. Tonight let's hit big ideas, broad stroke things that came out of the wrap-up meeting. Friday night, events, film festival, fashion show, trolleys. Then we have agendas for the next couple of meetings too.

Rachel S.: Would like to just have a list of kid-friendly sites. Bringing my kids to SOS was great but you had to pick your places.

Rowan: Central St Studios had kid specific activities. Told Sierra, she said "I wish I'd known". Nice to have a mark in the book for studios with kid activities.

Rachel M.: a suggestion came from an attendant for a flag for "safe" or "appropriate" for children; Do not want to be in the business of policing that but maybe want to allow artists to identify themselves as kid-unsafe if for instance they have fragile glass or decapitated puppies.

Rachel S.: things kids are drawn to. Like Carl Greusz with his blinky lights. Or Hilary Scott.

Peter: try to involve students and student-art, Anna got two middle schools to participate in the fashion show, maybe have a whole kids show and then the winners come to the main fashion show. A kids art show with kids exhibiting would be great.

Judith: I'm kid friendly but I don't have activities.

Melitta: My nieces love SOS. I brought some compact micro-activities in a bag, didn't take up space. Did take 7-year-old to see glass, being Very Careful. Hard to tell what a kid is going to like. Vernon St could do a scavenger hunt, maybe in pictures for really small kids.

Rachel M.: A bingo card? Sometimes this kind of thing makes kids run through the space goal-oriented and not seeing anything. Maybe make it less specific, so more than one thing can fill the bingo spot, less goal oriented. This might be a way to collect some info about our visitors.

Raj: a passport, like in national parks.

Lee: we had passports in 2005. (and maybe 2007?) there were prizes.

Rachel M.: sounds like it could annoying for the artists if kids/parents came in just trying to fulfill bingo card and didn't want to be engaged in the art. Especially if they needed attention (signatures).

Peter: try to make it educational?

Raj: passports for kids only?

Lee: I like the thing to get kids to find particular images.

Melitta: sometimes when you see the kids running around the museum it's a class assignment so they're just trying to get it done; not being a school thing would make it more low-key

Rachel S.: opt-in to passport for artists would be a way of self-identifying as kid friendly.

Rachel M.: LJ suggestion was, "I want to lay out an itinerary, help me out here".

Peter: were people more worried about finding artists who were OK with kids, or stuff that would be interesting to them?

Rachel M.: commenter on LJ only went to big buildings because it's easy to vet studios. Wants to go to small buildings too, but wants non-scary content. We've already got a better idea going in this meeting than what the poster was asking for, plus this would solve his needs.

Nancy: tried to take a kid to see some art and the artist was more squeamish than I was.

Rachel M.: Who should run this? No one expresses interest.

Rachel S.: artists and/or non-artists who bring their kids. Plenty of people not here could be excited to do this.

Rachel M.: Something in the map-book or a separate publication. If you think of someone who would run that let me know. [NB-- at a later meeting Ellie Laramee expressed enthusiasm about this]

Discussion: Friday night

Rachel M. and Raj and some of WSAC did Friday. WSAC got like four people. "we need Friday for getting ready".

Melitta has a friend with a brand new studio and opened Friday and really liked it. She's right off Union Square so people who were out for the evening found her. Location has a lot to do with it. She liked being ready for the weekend. Was hoping it was something that might build.

Raj got one person. Marketed to friends and family.

Lee: WSAC did not market Friday, and even put up posters saying not Friday but some people marked themselves as open on the map-book.

Rachel M.: intra-studio communication was an issue. We need to remind people to communicate with their studiomates and building mates about whether they're doing Friday, since it can be checked and unchecked after the reg deadline. Maybe we can run a report to see who has conflicting answers in the same address?

Peter: keep in mind this was the first year. We were hoping for 10% and got a little more. Have to give these things time.

Rachel M.: I got artists who were open the rest of the weekend and finally got to meet eg. Pauline Lim. Wanted to not open and go to other studios, but would have been busy doing prep, but this way I could be open and doing prep. I personally want to do it again.

Rachel M.: The Event-Title "Opt-in Friday" makes sense when speaking to artists but not to visitors, as a vistor what does “opt-in” mean? Call it something catchy on the website / mapbook? Some Friday visitors were confused that there were studios that weren't open.

Raj: "preview"

Peter: "best of SOS" [laughter]

Lee: if more people were open, more people would come. Also need to promote it. If we keep having Friday that will force more people to open...

Nancy: "encourage"

Lee: there isn't critical mass.

Peter: Vernon St has a few closed doors at any particular moment even apart from Friday.

Rachel S.: Vernon wasn't very coordinated about it despite a lot of attempts to coordinate about it. Maybe 30 artists opened.

Peter: Liked it because it was less crazy.

Rachel M.: people in individual homes, I was not expecting to open. That's a way that some visitors who're going to big buildings can do that Friday and free up Sat/Sun, so this makes a way to encourage people to go to small buildings. Made it less of a marathon for me because my 2am was thursday instead of friday so by Saturday I had recovered.

Rachel S.: in 2010 when Miller St was open Friday (and was on our weekend) I participated there and that made it a marathon.

Rachel M.: that was because you and I had to take down work and put it back up in a different space overnight Friday.

Lee: If 30 people are open at Vernon you're not going to go then, you want to go when they're all open.

Rachel M.: some people don't like the crowds.

Raj: Have we tried other hours than 12-6 Sat/Sun?

Everyone: [cross talk]

Raj: more publicity about it? Now that we know it's going to happen, that's easier.

Rachel M.: we do also get some mostly older artists who want fewer hours and some younger ones who want more.

Raj: it's a marathon for the visitors too.

Rachel M.: I put all this work into cleaning my studios...

Lee: our younger artists want shorter hours. Things taper off here around 5.

Rachel M.: aren't kids often morning people? maybe have morning hours for kids as part of the passport thing, special kid hours from 10-12? Some studios might opt into this and some not.

Rowan: 2 hours is kind of a short time for people with kids.

Lee: We don't get people beating down the doors at 12.

Rachel M.: We do, and they have kids.

Rachel S.: Arisia has early hours programming for kids.

Melitta: Was good for convincing people to attend even if they couldn't make it on the weekend itself.

Rowan: Instead of Friday night?

Rachel M.: no, separate program.

Lee: if only one day, vote for Sunday.

Rowan: church?

Lee: is that even a thing?

Rachel M.: Saturday morning cartoons make me think that kids are up at that hour, looking for something to look at.

Nick: That's generally quite early in the morning.

Discussion Topic: integrating music

Rachel S.: music stuff is glomming on to SOS.

Rowan: we had someone exhibit as a composer. music at the armory was with the farmers market.

Rachel M.: temple of infinite love had a schedule of concerts and suggested donations. we have to be clear that no item with the SOS name can ask for fee “suggested” or otherwise.

Peter: wanted to get some performing artists my year, more festive atmosphere.

Nick: temple of infinite love was a performance artist. (and also they were three or four artists skating by on one registration, which is another issue).

Rachel M.: SOS is really the only purely visual arts based event in Somerville. Don't want musical concert performances during the hours of SOS. But as leadup it might be better.

Lee: wouldn't necessarily exclude composer; WSAC had a performance artists who did some kind of performancey kind of thing with glitter in a corner of the gallery. ambient music is great.

Rachel: Mad Oyster has musicians in the lobby during the event, but not as competition. Looking to spread out events more, maybe films and fashion show on wednesday and thursday?

Melitta: films were short, under 10 minutes, and on a loop. then at 4 the whole program ran, 1:45, and it was standing room only, 60 people. Including super-8 at end, but not for loop. At end had a discussion with the filmmakers.

Nick: films on a loop is what you see in museums.

Peter: could SCAT films thing been 6-8?

Melitta: yes, but we had the idea that 12-6 was being a better citizen.

Peter: Fashion show was after hours.

Melitta: Was going to be Friday.

Everyone: Couldn't participate 12-6 as artist and also attend, let alone participate in the fashion show.

Rachel M.: Davis Square Theatre was donated, because it was early and they could book a band after. Going to some other day might get us the donation again, but they got the dress rehearsal bumped for a paid thing on Friday by IFF paying a Very Large Sum Of Money. Usual rates are like $150 so free is not key, but that doesn't prevent you getting bumped by the likes of IFF. Later in the day Saturday would not work financially. Film show and fashion show, when should it be?

Rachel S.: "SOS after dark" appealing.

Lee: prefer Saturday to Sunday. Not sure about earlier.

Nancy: me, too. Earlier, I would still be prepping.

Peter, Lee: people don't like to go out other than on Friday/Saturday night.

Rachel M.: exhibiting fashion-show participants would get more traffic if it were earlier.

Lee: would fashion show on Friday be a problem for opt-in Friday?

Rachel S.: different audience?

Wrapping Up

Bring your non-artist friends to future meetings so we can get their perspective.

Peter: invite the non-artists from constant contact? [done]

Rachel M.: SAC list has some attendees. Invited from there, too. Thank You, Every one! Eat cookies, have a cider, feel free to hang around and chat and help move chairs inside. See you next month?

Next Meeting
Monday July 23 at Mad Oyster Studios