College Art Association

CAA News Today

Making Changes for the Future

posted by CAA — Jul 27, 2017

Dear CAA members,

CAA exists to serve its members and the wider community of arts and culture professionals. Many of our members are facing challenging fiscal dynamics in their own institutions. They have seen opportunities to attend professional conferences and discretionary departmental budgets decrease. Even more concerning is the lack of new professional opportunities for those entering the field as the number of full time and tenured positions continues to decline.

We know how integral our staff is to serving our 9,000 individual and 600 institutional members. Recently, we took a closer look at our staffing at CAA in relation to changes in the higher education landscape, the visual arts field, and the ecosystem of associations. We discovered that in order to move forward as an organization CAA had to reduce its organizational footprint. Coming to this realization was difficult but we also knew we did not want to simply cut staff.

With this reality in mind, last spring we worked to reduce the size of the CAA staff. Based on my recommendation, the Board of Directors adopted a 2018 budget that matched realistic revenue projections against actual expenses. We offered an Employee Exit Incentive Plan, a plan of choice, to all staff. Several people took the plan. We are saddened to see staff at CAA leave. Some have served the organization for many years and contributed to much of what makes CAA tick. But we also know they are headed for new adventures professionally and personally, and we are proud to offer them support and security as they embark.

The departures at CAA gave us a rare opportunity to restructure the organization, to look at every department and assess its work and goals. It also gave us the chance to hire for a few new mission-driven positions. Programming is important to CAA and its members, and as part of the new structure we expanded programs and placed publications, one of our flagship programs, in that department. The publications department will not change fundamentally and will continue to produce exemplar issues of Art Journal and The Art Bulletin, as well as outstanding digital content in Art Journal Open and caa.reviews. Tiffany Dugan has been named the director of programs and publications to lead the new department. Communications and marketing will also grow as a department as it joins forces with membership services, a pairing that will bring more clarity to how we communicate with our members and how we will look to build our membership in the coming years. The newly formed communications, marketing, and membership department will be led by Nick Obourn. Lastly, our finance department will take the IT department under its wing, forming what will be the center of operations for CAA. Teresa Lopez will lead that department.

We know this is a lot to digest, but we felt it necessary to explain things in full. Restructuring CAA was difficult for us as an organization, but it was a decision we had to make to gain stability and ensure that we exist to serve our members and professionals in the visual arts for another 106 years. These changes will not result in any reduction of services or support to our members and the visual arts field at large.

In the coming weeks we will also announce exciting new offerings for our members at CAA. Stay tuned!

We look forward to seeing you in Los Angeles, February 21–24, 2018 for the 106th Annual Conference.

Please reach out to us at 212-691-1051 or nyoffice@collegeart.org if you have any questions at all.

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