HOME  |   VISIT  |   ARTIST DIRECTORY  |   GET INVOLVED  |   SUPPORT  |   ABOUT  |  Facebook Twitter

Volunteer Meeting Minutes

Sunday September 23, 2012

Putting It All together

location: Mad Oyster Studios
time: 12:00pm - 1:30pm
minutes recorded by Nick Shectman


Rachel Mello, coordinator, participating for about 13 years.

Christina Tedesco, volunteer show, participating for 4 years.

Stan Eichner, participating for 1 year, showed photos in community space.

Rowan McVey, membership coordinator, participating for 4 or 5 years from my home

Nicholas Shectman, volunteer for 6 years, treasurer, taking notes, have shown only at volunteer show.

Paul Venturo, new to SOS.

Raj Ramaiah, participating for 2-3 years, worked on web site.

Chris Benson, don't have studio here but friends with Ellie Laramee, looking to see what it's all about

Ellen Ellerbee, first year participating, working on community space.

Katya Papova

Nancy Anderson, second year participating.

Anna Zamarripa, participating for 5-6 years, coordinated fashion show last year, back doing that again.

Aaron Ellerbee, participating for 2 years.

Rachel Silber, participating for 4 years, volunteering longer than that. Worked on museum show and map distribution. This year looking for something closer to run time.

Brief Overview, Where We Are Now

Rachel M: Kickoff party in November, registration opens in December, then the train reallygets going. Brief overview, then update on where we need help most.

Introductions (see list above)

Rachel M: As a volunteer I like to know that there is some structure in place, so I don't feel like if I volunteer in one place I'm going to fall in over my head. We have a great team already going, and still need some more help, so I'll try to give you a brief overview of the structure we already have. These are in roughly alphabetical order, from previous years' mapbooks:
Artists Choice, show happens at the Somerville Museum, open to any participating artist, Mara Brod and Suzanne Lubeck running, will need many volunteers for setup, but for now the organization level of that is in good hands.
Banners, still needs a coordinator. There's someone I will ask on this, but we'll see...
Community Space, Ellen Ellerbee is coordinating, Stan Eichner working on helping artists set up. Might be nice to have another assistant for Ellen, but if she doesn't have one I'm confident she'll do a great job. She has last year's community space organizer, Sarah Bettencourt advising her.
Davis Square/CVS Window, we may have covered...
Graphic Design, I'm really happy to say that James Weinberg is doing the poster, cover, and style-guide for other pieces. His work is great and will make a great look for us. We're also really lucky to have Resa Blatman who's offered to do mapbook interior, and we're still working out which of the rest of the collateral.
Family and Kids, Ellie Laramee is going to be running an event to help families with kids who want to figure out what spaces they want to go to. Saturday morning or maybe previous Saturday, activities for kids plus parents tell each other where they like to go.
Home Studios, Rowan Mcvey has offered to work with Jim and Jennifer Downs to put together tips for people showing out of their homes, and update the OS tips in general. Jim and Jennifer have also offered to put together a workshop and help Home Studio artists directly.
Mapbook Data, maybe handled?
Mapbook Distribution, is a job for which we still need a coordinator, organizational task with no during-events obligations, so is a good one for a participating artist.
Publicity, Has multiple phases. Needs people in any time commitment. This is one of our areas of greatest need; will talk more on this in a moment.
Membership, Rowan McVey and Aram Comjean, who is also our Webmaster. SOS would be impossible without their work.
Poster Distribution, two people in charge, Lucy Nadeau and Emily Garfield, they will need lots of people, when the time comes in the Spring.
Special Events:
Fashion Show, organized by Anna Zamarripa and will need some setup and crew on the day.
Film Festival, Melitta King has offered to do again
Visitor Services, a new title that will include the volunteers on the trolleys to help figure out what's going on where, and we would like to add an outdoor info booth in Union Square and/or Davis Square, hand out flyers during the weekend, have not done before because volunteer-heavy during the event, but if you're not showing this would be good. Even if you're not as in to working out front with visitors but can help organize people this is a good role.
Food Trucks, I'd love to have Food Trucks and an info booth at a central location, and depending on what the Aldermen decide, and if we get City permission for a good location for them, it would be great to have a person that could contact them and coordinate that effort.
Signage, is in good hands with Hilary Scott as long as he's happy to do it. When it comes to the event time, we need a few people to help with deploying them.
Sponsorship I'm going to talk more about in a moment. Suzanne Lubeck has offered to lead that up, but she needs more help on that.
Volunteer Show, will be lead by Christina Tedesco this year. Christina assisted me for this for the past two years.
Webmaster, again is Aram Comjean, Raj Ramaiah has been helping.

I'm sure I'm leaving out some key people and parts, but for now let's leave it there. Any Questions so far on what I've said so far?

Stan: Where are we with the Armory?

Rachel M: That turns out to be a bit of a process, but we have a handshake agreement at this point, just no signed piece of paper yet. We are getting it for Wednesday night for the fashion show, as well.

Anna: This will be better for exhibiting artists who won't have to race down to the theatre. Might also be good for publicizing SOS.

Rachel M: If we do film program earlier in the week, then that's also lead-up.

Anna: We had two schools involved in fashion show, 18 kids, want to get more and have a separate kids fashion show, bring a couple of winners to the main show. Maybe that can connect with the Family Event.

Katya teaches in a private school in Central Square, Cambridge teenagers there did great fashion project....

Rachel M: [grin] I'm sure that Somerville kids will be up to that level of participation, too!

Katya: Oh, does this have to be Somerville only? [Yes.]

Rowan: Is there are requirement in the Somerville schools to do volunteer work?

Stan: not as of 4 years ago.

Rowan: Would be good to get for e.g. map distributions.

Rachel M: From what I've heard from others, Some times this can work out great and sometimes not so well. It's good to pair teens with adults, good for info booths as kids have a lot of energy.

Katya: Sprout is in somerville, might be good for fashion show.

Anna: Getting the kids involved was this great total accident, happened to get two teachers on board.

Anna: Last year we had a separate design and publicity for fashion show. This year more integrated?

Rachel M: James will present a postcard template or a style guide from which we can make collateral for events, including events planned at the last minute.

Raj: for multi-years or just one year?

Rachel M: that's up to the coordinator. If who ever does this next year—and that's not going to be me—likes this year's the next year's coordinator might want to keep with the same design, but I can't speak for whoever that will be.

Anna: Each year has a bit of a theme. Last year's theme as "See the Beauty," right?

Rachel M: this year I'm working on a theme of "Community" or something like that. Looking for just he right wording, but that's the general concept. We come together to make an event, it's not top down. The event is spread through the whole city, lots of effort to get people out to the whole city, even if they only know some spots. Theme of community and graphics about interconnecting. Actual phrasing not pinned down yet.

Katya: I just wanted to say that I had a good experience printing with Vistaprint. They made really nice postcards, and were really fast. Everyone should use them.

Rachel M: It's good that you mention them. that makes a good way to focus on the topic of Publicity


Rachel M:We have partnered with Vistaprint to use their company-portal tools to create personalizable postcards with our name and logos to help artists promote their own sites and the whole event at the same time. I know when I'm participating (which I'm not doing this year, Because.) I always feel a bit of internal conflict. I want to promote the whole event, but I also want to bring people to my own studio. This way we can help people do both. We want to make sure that artists don't say "SOS is located at ", talking to building organizers to make sure that is clear, our vistaprint pieces will have some fixed elements that help say that, that can't be changed, and then be flexible for artists to add their own info. They have a program that usually costs businesses $200 plus a required hundred orders a month. They agreed to $0 and an unknown number of orders, only in the Spring. They get connected to our hundreds of artists, and we get promotion and a decent product quickly, so it's pretty good. We've had Artist Downloads in the past, and this builds on that using an existing infrastructure.

Paul: Is there a requirement or mandate to go with local printers?

Anna: Vistaprint is local. Their corporate headquarters are in MA, just up in Lexington.

Rachel M: We can't mandate what artists individually do. We as an organization will go with Fleming (in Somerville) for the big jobs, map-book and poster. For short-run quick-turn jobs local printers might not be the right call. But Fleming is competitively priced with any of the other local or non-local printers. They have a bit of a longer turn-around time based on their process, so that will be a constraint.

Rachel M: Vistaprint will be a way to get artists to be able to promote themselves and SOS at the same time.

Katya: is involved with Honk! Making huge letter forms out of balloons, [detailed description of letter forms] would like to make letter forms for SOS too.

Rachel M: I saw your drawings for that on Facebook. they were lovely. I'd love to do that for SOS.
Does everyone know what Honk! is? [No]
Honk festival is a weekend long music festival of activist street bands in Davis Square. Sunday, October 7 they have a parade, includes various community groups. SOS will be marching in the parade. Hilary Scott is making house forms for people to wear. Ellie Laramee is working on, I think, making giant picture frames, and we will have orange SOS balloons. Need at least 10 more people. We have save-the-date cards to pass out at the event. If anyone is interested in marching, Sunday morning, don't have to be a participating artist. Terry Dovidio is coordinating the entire honk parade effort. She is having a brunch next weekend to work out details. If you're interested in participating, check the email for this meeting for her info and get in touch with her there or through Facebook right away.

The parade goes to Harvard Square where there is an Octoberfest. Somerville has its own Octoberfest now, outside Redbones, after parade we will do a meetup there. [Correction: the redbones Octoberfest is not Honk weekend this year; we'll have to work out another place for a meet-up]

Katya: could use people to help carry HONK letterforms.

Rachel M: As much as I love Honk with my whole heart, I'm going to focus our time here on SOS publicity and effort.

Rachel M: Our Main efforts right now, where we most need people working, are publicity and sponsorship. You can never have too many great publicity ideas, people come up with lots of wonderful ideas, but we need a head for that, to sort through it, prioritize, get things happening. Also we have room for two interns in publicity. Jesa Damora is a professional artist PR person. She can't do SOS publicity for free, because she's working on her business doing this, but she's offered a partnership in which she would train 1-2 people who would be interns, 10 hours a week starting now for 6 months, unpaid. Some of that time for Jesa on her projects and some for SOS. If you're looking to learn how to do professional PR and promotion we have this opportunity. You'd learn how to write a press release, where to send it to. Work with Jesa and with Thea Paneth from the SOS-side. If you know anyone who this would be good for, or who is looking to learn how to promote their own work, please contact Rachel.

Paul Venturo and

Nancy Anderson are potentially interested in PR internship.

Raj: Does Tufts have a communications program that could generate a student intern for this?

Anna: Amy S____, Gallery coordinator at Tufts says Tufts would like to connect more with SOS. Dance building is in Somerville and it's beautiful.

Paul: program at sMFA?

Chris: the dates, May 3-4-5 is one week before Tufts graduation. the spaces will all be in use by then. (Chris is faculty at Tufts.)


Rachel M: On to sponsorship. This turns out to be hard to get artists to volunteer for. We have a lot of ideas that need money, but with more sponsorship we could do more things. We've never asked the museums or schools to buy ads, or residency programs like Vermont Studio School. There's reaching out to arts related organizations maybe not in Somerville, and then there's asking non-arts Somerville businesses. Suzanne Lubeck did a great job with connecting to Somerville Business last year, but could use a co-lead on sponsorship. Can divide up by territory or category. Even just Davis Square needs at least two people.

Anna would like to help out with that. How to leverage fashion show to bring in people that wouldn't normally sponsor, like Buffalo Exchange.

Rachel S: timeframe?

Rachel M: Starting now. The larger the organization the slower they move. Home Depot we would probably be soliciting 18 months in advance. We haven't approached big chains. Is it savvy, or is it selling out to a big organization? That's a question different people feel differently about.

Paul: How many people shop at Home Depot?

Rachel: Probably everyone. And we go to Tags or Hillside or Masse when we can. Boulter Plywood isn't as well known to Somerville artists as it could be. But I also go to Home Depot because it's open at 10:00 at night.

Paul: Consider what leverage we have.

Anna: When I was director of Dance Complex, local restaurants gave food because dancers eat at their restaurants. Doesn't hurt to remind them. If you shop there, and they see you in there and they know you, they'll give you $$ for an ad. We should be talking to Vistaprint individually to reinforce that this is their market they're reaching.

Rachel M:We also need in-kind donations. We could save some money by having smaller sponsors donate food for things like meetings instead of just food for the Artists Choice opening and Kick Off Party, but haven't wanted to fatigue our sponsors by going in every month. Could have a connection with TJs or Whole Foods or Pembertons or Shaws. Again we need a dedicated sponsorships person to make that happen.

Anna: Also pitch our (SOS) educational programs to potential sponsors like Target that we think are interested in that. What other in-kind donations?

Rachel S: Staples? Their corporate office is in MA. [Anna adds that they're a Bain Company. ]

Rachel M: We have to be careful, too. We still need to bring in money; Don't want too much in-kind donation, but some is useful.

Katya: Poster idea: Have each artist make their own poster, and then have a little label with SOS's info in the corner. every artist could make two or three. And they would all be different.

Rachel M: As an organization, what we can focus on is getting visitors to Somerville. But once they are in the city, it is the artist's PR that gets them to their individual studio. We can encourage people to come out that day, we can encourage them to look around, make it easy for them to find new artists, so they're not just seeing the same ones each year, help them move around. But we don't get in the business of promoting any specific artist. We need a unified, strong branding, so someone from Framingham sees the same poster at the Danforth, then in Boston, then hears an add on BUR or sees something in the Globe, and it's the repeated exposure that will bring people to the event.

Rowan: Will the VistaPrint deal also cover business card sized?

Rachel M: so far we have just negotiated the program, have not decided what collateral to make.

Rachel M: for big kickoff party, want to have a print your own T-shirt event, bring your own shirt or totebag or clean boxer shorts. Don't have a date, a venue, or a screenprinter. yet.

Rowan: But other than that it's all set! [laughter]

Paul: What about social media? How to leverage content online. I don't tweet but is there a twitter channel that allows participants to upload photos?

Rachel S: Twitter isn't useful for photos

Rachel M: But SOS has a Pinterest. We have some awareness and some people who have volunteered for each medium.

Rachel M is doing Facebook,

Ellie Laramee is doing Pinterest, so far all artist focused but we should be getting visitors involved. We should pick a twitter hashtag and put it on our posters.

Nick: tumblr?

Rachel M. We don't have a tumbler yet. Trying to have a person who likes each of the social media.

Anna Fashion Show considered having a blog to which different fashion show people could contribute, didn't happen last year.

Paul: Part of the buzz is to get people we don't know to tweet about being there. Have a contest for people posting messages or pictures or ?...

Rachel M: I love that idea. We're right up against our end time, and I know some people have places they have to get to. We'll stop for now but keep thinking about publicity and sponsorship and if you have ideas, something you want to try, drop me an email or call me whenever.

Next Meetings

No general membership meeting in October. We'll try to get all the team working so far together in October, and then get ready for the big Kick-Off in November. Nancy is friends with screen-printer on Cedar Street, might help with kick-off....

Thank you, everyone! and Thanks, Nick, again, for taking these minutes.