The Services to Artists Committee invites artist members to participate in ARTexchange, CAA’s pop-up exhibition and annual meet-up for artists and curators. This social event provides an opportunity for artists to share their work and build affinities with other artists, historians, curators, and cultural producers. ARTexchange will take place at the 106th Annual Conference in Los Angeles on Friday evening, February 23, 2018, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.
Each artist is given the space on, above, and beneath a six-foot table to exhibit their work: prints, paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, and small installations; performance, process-based, interactive, and participatory works are especially encouraged. CAA encourages creative use of the space and in the past this set up has sparked many unique displays. Please note that artwork cannot be hung on walls, and it is not possible to run power cords from laptops or other electronic devices to outlets.
To participate as an exhibiting artist in 2018, email email@example.com, with “ARTexchange” and your last name in the subject line, by December 12, 2017, with the following information: (1) a short description of what you will exhibit and how you will use the six-foot table space (provide details regarding performance, sound, spoken word, or technology-based work, including laptop presentations); (2) your CAA member number (memberships must be active through February 24, 2018); and (3) your website or a link to a digital portfolio.
Because ARTexchange is a popular venue and participation is based on available space, early applicants are given preference. Participants are responsible for their work; CAA is not liable for losses or damages. Sales of work are not permitted.
CAA has been awarded a $25,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the next installment of ARTspace, taking place during the 2018 Annual Conference in Los Angeles. Spearheaded by CAA’s Services to Artists Committee, ARTspace is a forum for programming designed by artists for artists that is among the most vital and exciting aspects of the conference. Held at each Annual Conference since 2001, ARTspace is intended to reflect the current state of the visual arts and arts education. The grant is the NEA’s ninth consecutive award to CAA for this event.
ARTspace offers free program sessions and includes diverse activities such as the annual Distinguished Artist Interviews—most recently with Coco Fusco and Katherine Bradford at the Annual Conference in New York last February—and screenings of film, video, and multimedia works in the Media Lounge. Also hosted in ARTspace are live performances and panel discussions that facilitate a conversational yet professional exchange of ideas and practices designed to engage CAA’s artist members as well as the general public.
ARTspace programming for 2017 included sessions on economic fairness and internet activism, artists who collaborate with their families, alternative career paths for artists outside the studio and academia, and a roundtable on artist-run institutions. CAA’s 106th Annual Conference will take place February 21–24, 2018, at the Los Angeles Convention Center and at schools, museums, and other institutions throughout Southern California.
Jane Chu, chairman of the NEA since 2014, has approved over $84 million to fund nearly 1,200 projects and partnerships in all fifty US states in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. The Art Works category focuses on funding the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and strengthening of communities through the arts. Through grants to thousands of nonprofits each year, the NEA promotes opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity.
For the full list of 2017 Art Works grants visit the NEA website.
posted by CAA — June 13, 2017
Ends on July 9, 2017
CAA seeks Professional Development Workshop leaders for the 2018 Annual Conference taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from February 21–24. The Association seeks active members who are well-established in their respective fields to serve as leaders for ninety-minute Professional Development Workshop offerings at the conference. The Annual Conference Committee and Programs Department have provided sample titles and/or subjects below, but welcome innovative topics and formats.
- Completed Submission form (see below) with related attachments and a succinct description of workshop
- Detailed syllabus for the workshop that outlines both activities and a proposed timeline for the ninety minutes (the selection committee encourages workshops that have active components such as guided discussions, writing exercises, and hands-on activities; the committee discourages lecture formats)
- List of required materials workshop participants should bring (laptops, resumes, etc.)
- An active CAA Membership ID number (All workshop leader(s) must be current individual CAA members through February 24, 2018.)
- Complimentary Full-Conference Registration
- 1 year of Premium Level Membership (renewal or upgrade to commence upon current membership’s expiration date)
List of Sample Topics, Subjects, or Titles:
Activating Audiences and Cultivating Engagement
Assessing and Comparing Citation Management Systems: Scrivner, Refworks, Retero
Basic Finance for Artists and Academics
Business Strategies and Negotiation for the Arts
Creating an Online Presence: Using Social Media Professionally
Creating Online Exhibitions
Finding Grants and Fellowships
Freelance Lecturing: A Guide
Fundraising Fundamentals for Academics
Get Out of the Office/Studio!: A Public Speaking Workshop
Getting a Job in the Arts in the Current Economic Climate
Getting into the Digital Humanities…
Interdisciplinary Practice: Successful Collaboration across Disciplines
International Post-Doctoral/Post-MFA Funding Opportunities
Legal Issue Primer for Artists and Art Historians
Marketing 101 for the Arts
Post-Doc Position: Right or Wrong Choice for You?
Record Keeping and Archiving: Importance and Efficiency
Researcher and Artist: How They Can Collaborate
Strategies for Teaching Assistants
Technologies for Teaching: Canvas, Piazza, M+Box, Google Suite
The Great Divide(s): Bridging the Museum, Gallery, and Academic Worlds
Thinking Outside or Beyond the Tenure Track
Working with Images: Copyright and Digitization
Director of Programs Tiffany Dugan and I just returned from a week in Los Angeles to make plans for CAA’s Annual Conference in 2018.
Scheduled for February 21-24 at the LA Convention Center, the 106th CAA Annual Conference promises to be one of the strongest ever. When the online session submissions portal closed last week, we had more than 800 submissions – one of the largest numbers in recent years. The Annual Conference Committee is reviewing the submissions this month and will be making final selections.
Based on past conference attendance, we anticipate more than 4,000 conference attendees in Los Angeles. We expect to schedule more than 250 sessions and over 200 events, including meetings, receptions, and tours. To house everyone, we secured three principal hotels, all within walking distance of the Convention Center, guaranteeing 6,000 guest nights.
We visited with the staffs and toured the Westin Bonaventure, Millennium Biltmore LA, and JW Marriott. Hotel rooms for the conference will range from $139 to $269 a night, depending on which hotel you select and the type of room you want. The John Portman designed Westin Bonaventure will be our host hotel and has the cool elegance reflecting the beginning of LA’s downtown revival in the mid-1970s. The Biltmore, which opened in 1923, reflects the opulence and beaux-arts style from LA’s golden age as the film industry was in its burgeoning stage. The new, swank JW Marriot is closest to the Convention Center and at the door of all the urban excitement of L.A. Live. All three hotels are within walking distance of the Convention Center. And the Westin even has a good cup of coffee below $2 in the lobby!
Near the hotels, we found lots of great restaurants – everything from a hearty breakfast at the Original Pantry Café (which is open 24 hours) to the Blue Cow Kitchen & Bar, Bunker Hill Bar & Grill, Bottega Louie, Eat.Drink.Americano, and Water Grill. Food trucks are on virtually every corner (you have to try the sushi burrito). And there are plenty of artisanal coffee shops as well. In the coming months we will be working on setting up discounts at local restaurants and businesses for our attendees. Our hosts at the LA Convention Center gave us a great tour and we were able to see where the registration area, book and trade fair, and sessions rooms will be. We were able to secure more creature comforts like additional seating between sessions for impromptu conversations, charging stations for phone and laptops, and a quiet room to decompress from the hustle and bustle of the conference.
The Getty Museum, LACMA, and MOCA all opened their doors to us and we had great meetings. Each institution is looking forward to CAA 2018 and is making plans to ensure that your visit is meaningful. We met with leaders at UCLA and USC. In upcoming trips, we will be meeting with leaders at the Norton Simon Museum, The Huntington Library, Hammer Museum, Fisher Museum, and The Broad, as well as Otis College of Art and Design, Pasadena City College, Santa Monica College, and many others.
We also toured other cultural organizations including REDCAT, The Brewery Artist Lofts, Japanese American Museum, Chinese American Museum, 18th Street Arts Center, A+D Architecture and Design Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum and many others. They are looking forward to welcoming CAA members to visit during the conference. We are planning on a day of programing for local LA area artists at the Annual Conference similar to what we did in NYC this year.
Colleges and universities interested in holding reunions and receptions at the Annual Conference will also be able to find great spaces for their events. While there are some beautiful rooms available at the CAA hotels, we saw great spaces at the Hilton Checkers (check out the roof top terrace), the LA Public Library (check out the rotunda and courtyards), the gallery district in Chinatown (check out the Charlie James Gallery and A.G. Geiger Fine Art Books), and Hauser & Wirth. There are plenty of galleries in Hollywood and the Arts District, which will be available as well. We will keep adding to this list to create alternative reception options. Since the weather will be mild, there will be plenty of opportunities to sneak away from the Conference Center and check out what LA has to offer.
If you have not been to LA in a while, you will be happy to discover that getting around is easier than ever. While your CAA membership can get you a discount on an Avis rental car, ride sharing programs such as Uber and Lyft are popular and often cost less than $5 per trip between key cultural locations. LA has also been making great progress on its public transportation system as Metro stations are popping up everywhere.
Many thanks to Annual Conference Chair Judith Rodenbeck and CAA Regional Reps John Tain and Neha Choksi, who, along with Anu Vikram and Niku Kashef, made lots of great recommendations. If you have any more ideas of places you would like to see, just let Tiffany or me know.
Finally, we’ve pulled together all the details for the Getty sponsored Pacific Standard Time and will be offering that information in the months to come. You may want to arrive earlier to make sure that you take in as much as you can. President’s Day weekend is just before the Annual Conference. Be sure to watch CAA News for more updates about the conference as we solidify our planning.
Projects and Proposal Deadlines April 17 and 24
The Annual Conference Committee invites proposals of interest to its members and varied audiences. Submissions that cover the breadth of current thought and research in art and art practice, art and architectural history, theory and criticism, studio art, pedagogical issues, museum and curatorial practice, conservation, design, new media, and developments in technology are encouraged.
To submit a proposal, individuals must be current CAA members. All session participants, including presenters, chairs, moderators, and discussants, must also be current individual CAA members. Please have your CAA Member ID handy as well as the member IDs of any and all participants as this is a required field on the submission form. Please note that institutional member IDs cannot be used to submit proposals. If you are not a current individual member, please renew your membership or join CAA.
All session participants must also register for the conference. Online registration for CAA 2018 will begin October 2, 2017. Early conference registration will end December 15, 2017 and advance conference registration will end on February 7, 2018. Early and advance conference registration fees will not change from CAA 2017, New York.
The Annual Conference Committee will accept the following proposals for review: Complete Sessions, Sessions Soliciting Contributors, and Individual Paper/Project proposals. All sessions will be 90 minutes in length at CAA 2018. Please plan accordingly. For full details on the submission process for the conference, please review the information below and on the individual submission pages.
PROPOSAL SUBMISSION TYPES
Session Soliciting Contributors
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: April 17, 2017
The Session Soliciting Contributors option allows a submission for a full session (90 minutes in length) with yet-to-be identified speakers and papers/projects. If selected, such sessions will be included in the call for participation (CFP) which opens June 30.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: April 17, 2017
Individual Paper/Project proposals (15 minutes in presentation length) may be submitted for review. No specific theme is required. The Annual Conference Committee will review and select paper/project proposals based on merit and group approved submissions into Composed Sessions of up to four participants. A liaison from the Annual Conference Committee will be identified for each Composed Session to assist with the format and to help identify a session chair or moderator.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: April 24, 2017
The Complete Session option allows a submission for a complete panel (90 minutes in length) pre-formed with participants and papers/projects chosen in advance by session chairs. This session requires advance planning and information gathering by the chair(s).
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: April 24, 2017
Each Affiliated Society may submit either one Complete Session proposal (90 minutes in length) pre-formed with participants and papers/projects chosen in advance or one Session Soliciting Contributors proposal (90 minutes in length) to be included in the CFP which opens June 30. A note of approval from the Affiliated Society chair must accompany the submission. This session will be guaranteed and will be identified as an Affiliated Society session in all CAA publications.
Subsequent proposals by Affiliated Society members may be submitted separately by individuals, but are subject to peer review by the Annual Conference Committee and must be submitted via the Complete Session, Session Soliciting Contributors, or Individual Paper/Project submissions forms described above. These submissions are not guaranteed and, if selected, will not be labeled or identified as Affiliated Society sessions in CAA publications.
CAA PIPS Committees
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: April 24, 2017
CAA PIPS committees may submit either one Complete Session proposal (90 minutes in length) pre-formed with participants and papers/projects chosen in advance or one Session Soliciting Contributors proposal (90 minutes in length) to be included in the CFP which opens June 30. A note of approval from the committee chair must accompany the submission. This session will be identified as a committee session in all CAA publications.
Subsequent proposals by committee members may be submitted separately by individuals, but are subject to peer review by the Annual Conference Committee and must be submitted via the Complete Session, Session Soliciting Contributors, or Individual Paper/Project submissions forms described above. These submissions are not guaranteed and, if selected, will not be labeled or identified as committee sessions in CAA publications.
GENERAL SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
- All sessions will be 90 minutes in length at CAA 2018. Please plan accordingly.
- All session proposals must be completed and submitted online.
- To submit a proposal, individuals must be current CAA members. All session participants, including presenters, chairs, moderators, and discussants, must also be current individual CAA members. Please have your CAA Member ID handy as well as the member IDs of any and all participants as this is a required field on the submission form. Please note that institutional member IDs cannot be used to submit proposals. If you are not a current member, please renew your membership or join CAA.
- All session participants must also register for the conference. Online registration for CAA 2018 will begin October 2, 2017. Early conference registration will end December 15, 2017 and advance conference registration will end on February 7, 2018. Early and advance conference registration fees will not change from CAA 2017, New York.
- CVs are required for panel proposals where the chair and, if applicable, the co-chair are known.
- Session and paper/project abstracts should be no more than 250 words in length.
- The accuracy of information entered into the proposal form (e.g. spelling of names, affiliations, titles) is important as it will be pulled directly from this database for conference publications such as Abstracts 2018 and the conference website.
- The Annual Conference Committee makes its selections solely on the basis of merit and works to create a balanced program. Where proposals overlap, CAA reserves the right to select the most considered version or, in some cases, to suggest a fusion of two or more versions from among the proposals submitted.
- If their proposals are accepted, CAA members may participate in session panels in consecutive years.
- For more information about session proposals for the 2018 Annual Conference, please contact Katie Apsey, CAA manager of programs, at 212-392-4405 or Tiffany Dugan, CAA director of programs, at 212-392-4410.
- February 27 – Call for Annual Conference session and paper/projects proposals begins
- Proposal Submission Deadlines for CAA 2018:
- April 17 – Proposal submission deadline for Sessions Soliciting Contributors
- April 17 – Proposal submission deadline for Individual Paper/Projects
- April 24 – Proposal submission deadline for Complete Sessions
- April 24 – Proposal submission deadline for Affiliated Societies and CAA PIPS Committees
- May 15 – Call for Professional Development Workshop Proposals begins
- June 19 – Notifications sent regarding approved sessions for CAA 2018
- Key dates for approved Sessions Soliciting Contributors included in the Call for Participation (CFP):
- June 30 – CFP for approved Sessions Soliciting Contributors announced (includes Poster Sessions)
- August 14 – Paper/Project submission deadline to chairs of Sessions Soliciting Contributors; deadline for Poster Session submissions
- August 28 – Session chairs send notifications to participants selected from CFP; Poster Session notifications sent
- September 18 – Deadline for all chairs to submit final abstracts and website listings to CAA
- October 2 – Online conference registration opens
- December 15 – Early conference registration closes
- February 7 – Advance conference registration closes
We are enjoying spring break as much as you are, but we also know that CAA has upcoming deadlines for proposing a session or paper for the 106th Annual Conference in Los Angeles, February 21–24, 2018.
In this video, Hunter O’Hanian, executive director of CAA, and Tiffany Dugan, director of programs, discuss what makes a great Conference proposal. We think your submission should contain clear writing, and your idea should be thoughtful. We want you to be accurate and complete when using the submission portal also.
The Annual Conference Committee, comprised of regional representatives, members of the Board, and CAA members at large, are in search of proposals that reflect the breadth and variety of our discipline and field, and demonstrate the expertise and curiosity of our membership also. Especially welcome are proposals from artists and on subjects in art before 1800.
The deadlines to propose a session or paper for the 2018 Annual Conference in Los Angeles are April 17 and April 24, 2017. Full details are available on the submissions website.
CAA invites nominations and self-nominations for individuals to serve on seven of the twelve juries for the annual Awards for Distinction for three years (2017–20). Terms begin in May 2017; award years are 2018–20. CAA’s twelve awards honor artists, art historians, authors, curators, critics, and teachers whose accomplishments transcend their individual disciplines and contribute to the profession as a whole and to the world at large.
Candidates must possess expertise appropriate to the jury’s work and be current CAA members. They should not hold a position on a CAA committee or editorial board beyond May 31, 2017. CAA’s president and vice president for committees appoint jury members for service.
Jury vacancies for spring 2017:
- Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award: two members
- Artist Award for a Distinguished Body of Work: two members
- CAA/AIC Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation: one member
- Distinguished Feminist Award: two members
- Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art: one member
- Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award: one member
- Frank Jewett Mather Award: two members
Nominations and self-nominations should include a brief statement (no more than 150 words) outlining the individual’s qualifications and experience and a CV (an abbreviated CV no more than two pages, may be submitted). Please send all materials by email to Katie Apsey, CAA manager of programs; submissions must be sent as Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF attachments. For questions about jury service and responsibilities, contact Tiffany Dugan, CAA director of programs.
Deadline Extended: May 31, 2017.
posted by CAA — March 14, 2017
CAA extends a warm thank-you to all of the artists, scholars, curators, critics, educators, and other visual-arts professionals who served as Career Services mentors during the 2017 Annual Conference. Your knowledge and expertise helped to enrich the Artists’ Portfolio Review, Career Development Mentoring, and Mock Interviews. We also appreciate the efforts of the members who created and led Professional Development Workshops and Brown Bag Sessions based on members’ needs.
Artist’s Portfolio Review
Susan Canning, Sculpture; Jill Conner, Artists Studios; Carrie Ida Edinger, Independent Artist; Nancy Hart, Artist/263 Gallery; Richard Heipp, University of Florida; David Howarth, Zayed University; Paul Hunter, Artist/Painter; Jason Lahr, University of Notre Dame; Suzanne Lemakis, Citibank, retired; Sharon Lippman, Art Without Walls; Craig Lloyd, Mount St. Joseph University; Yelena McLane, Florida State University; Dinah Ryan, Principia College; Paul Bernard Ryan, Mary Baldwin University, Emeritus; and Greg Shelnutt, Clemson University.
Career Development Mentoring
Susan Altman, Middlesex County College; Michael Aurbach, Vanderbilt University, Emeritus; Roann Barris, Radford University; Colin Blakely, University of Arizona; Leda Cempellin, South Dakota State University; Crista Cloutier, The Working Artist; Rebecca J. DeRoo, Rochester Institute of Technology; James Farmer, Virginia Commonwealth University; Reni Gower, Virginia Commonwealth University; Antoniette (Toni) Guglielmo, Getty Leadership Institute; Dennis Ichiyama, Purdue University; Zach Kaiser, Michigan State University; Ann B. Kim, University East; Carol Herselle Krinsky, New York University; Emmanuel Lemakis, CAA, retired; Jeffery Cote de Luna, Dominican University; Heather McPherson, University of Alabama, Birmingham; Liliana Milkova, Oberlin College; Mark O’Grady, Pratt Institute; Doralynn Pines, CAA; Thomas Post, Ferris State University; Heather Snyder Quinn, DePaul University; Jack Risley, University of Texas at Austin; Andrew Svedlow, University of Northern Colorado; Joe A. Thomas, Kennesaw State University; Ann Tsubota, Raritan Valley Community College; and Barbara Yontz, St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Mock Interview Sessions
Megan Koza Mitchell (Student and Emerging Professionals Committee Chair), Prospect New Orleans; Amanda Wainwright (Student and Emerging Professionals Committee), University of South Carolina; Tamryn Mcdermott, Temple University; Annie Storr, Brandeis University; Lauren Puzier, Sotheby’s; Abbey Hepner, University of Colorado; Rachel Kreiter, Spelman College; Nathan Manuel (Student and Emerging Professionals Committee); Lauren O’Neal, Lamont Gallery, Phillips Exeter Academy; DeWitt Godfrey, Colgate University; Dennis Ichiyama, Purdue University; Rachel Stephens, University of Alabama; Matt King, VCU School of the Arts; Carol Garmon, University of Mary, Washington; Craig Lloyd, Mount St. Joseph University; Maile S. Hutterer, University of Oregon; Mark O’Grady, Pratt Institute; Thomas Post, Kendall College of Art and Design; Greg Shelnutt, Clemson University; Maria Ann Conelli, Brooklyn College, City University of New York; Rebekah Beaulieu, Bowdoin College Museum of Art ; David LaPalombara, Ohio University; Arthur Blake Pierce, Valdosta State University; Michael Lobel, Hunter College; Susan Altman, Middlesex County College; David Howarth, Zayed University; and Colin Blakely, University of Arizona.
Brown Bag Lunches and Sessions
Megan Koza Mitchell (Student and Emerging Professionals Committee Chair), Prospect New Orleans; Amanda Wainwright (Student and Emerging Professionals Committee), University of South Carolina; Tamryn Mcdermott, Temple University; Annie Storr, Brandeis University; Lauren Puzier, Sotheby’s; Abbey Hepner, University of Colorado; Rachel Kreiter, Spelman College; Nathan Manuel, SEPC; Andrea Kirsch, Rutgers University; and Mattie M. Schloetzer, National Gallery of Art.
Professional Development Workshops
Maria Michails, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Susana Sevilla Aho, Modern Language Association; Susan Altman, Middlesex County College; Michael Aurbach, Vanderbilt University, Emeritus; Emily Pugh, Getty Research Institute; Elizabeth Buhe, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; Petra ten–Doesschate Chu, Seton Hall University; Kate Kramer, University of Pennsylvania; Shannon Connelly, Lebanese American University; Craig Dietrich, The Claremont Colleges; Jon Ippolito, University of Maine; John Bell, Dartmouth College; Molly Fox, Indiana University; Rebekah Beaulieu, Bowdoin College Museum of Art; Deborah Lutz, Pamela Lawton, Annie Leist, and Emilie Gossiaux, all from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Alexa Sand, Utah State University; Sara Orel, Truman State University; Jenn Karson, University of Vermont FabLab; Martha Schwendener, New York Times/New York University; Jack Henrie Fisher, University of Illinois, Chicago; and Alan Smart, University of Illinois, Chicago.
posted by Suzanne Preston Blier, President, the College Art Associatio — February 24, 2017
Art Matters. Art has always mattered. Whether we are art scholars or artists, critics or designers, gallery goers or museum professionals, art matters to all of us a great deal. Equally importantly, art matters – critically – to the societies in which we live and work. Fifty years ago this week (February 14,1967) as Aretha Franklin recorded her soon to become hit song, Respect, and Martin Luther King, Jr. prepared to denounce the Vietnam War in an April 4th New York city religious service, Faith Ringgold was creating her celebrated Black Light series, addressing the impact of race riots and other issues of the era. More recently, in 1990 when South African Apartheid finally ended, and Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were released from incarceration, the important work of South African artists – black and white, men and women –in bringing inequality and racism into public view began to be broadly acknowledged. Within the last few weeks, the Museum of Modern Art began a project to rehang works by artists from majority-Muslim nations facing travel bans to this country. Art matters.
As the one hundred and fifth College Art Association’s Annual Conference gets underway, it is imperative that we reflect on these and related art issues, on the close connections between art making and activism and the vital roles that artists, art scholars and other professionals play in tackling critical issues of the day, whether it be war, racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination and ethical derogation. Art Matters. It serves as a vital site not only of engagement and resistance, advocacy and education, problem solving and invention, but also as a vital means of opening up and re-envisioning the world around us. Art matters to us both as individuals and as part of the societies in which we live and work. In an era of increasing attacks not only on the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, but also on the arts, the importance of CAA as the leading organization that brings together practitioners and scholars within the same broad umbrella is all the more important. CAA offers a unique platform to reengage at the local, national, and international level. The so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) are important, but they do not overshadow the arts and humanities. Indeed, throughout history, each has often enhanced the other.
Arts Matter. Yet I have a confession: there was a key moment in my life when I did not feel this. It was the summer after my Freshman year in college at the University of Vermont. I was working in the Senate when one bleak morning I found myself in tears standing in Dupont Circle watching as Bobby Kennedy’s body arrived here in the hearse after his assassination. Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot a few months earlier. I returned to college that Fall but concluded soon after that art history and studio art were simply not enough. I quit college at the end of that year to join the Peace Corps. It was here, in Africa, where I first realized politics and art were integrally co-joined. Every book I read on African art was worse than the last. The field needed a correction, art history needed a correction, and after my two-year term ended, I returned home to finish my degree and make plans to attend graduate school with a focus on African art.
CAA then, as today, was a big deal. Elation and genuine fear were my initial emotions when my first CAA paper proposal was accepted– on a politically fraught panel addressing Semiotics and Art chaired by Henri Zerner. Much later we would become colleagues. These kinds of connections are part of what makes CAA so important. For me, a timely Art Bulletin article no doubt helped with tenure. But well before then I felt it was important to engage more formally with CAA – as much for African Art as anything else. It was for that reason that I ran for the CAA Board of Directors – and years later ran a second time. When I was a graduate student, many still believed that Africa had no arts outside of Egypt, and Egypt itself was part of a strange exo-African nether world somewhere between Mesopotamia and Greece. African art, if it was considered art at all, was assumed to be primitive. CAA for me was where the real political work began, through CAA board connections, I and others persuaded the editor at Abrams to drop the “Primitive Art” chapter from Janson’s best-selling History of Art textbook. In due course, African and African diaspora arts, and those who made and studied them, began reshaping not only art departments around the country, but also exhibitions, major journals, book publications and key prizes within CAA and other organizations. It was CAA that played a central and ongoing role in this.
What had begun for me at CAA as an engagement about my field, soon blossomed into other issues – open access to museum collections in publishing for example. When I was a board member initially, one of our group began to work with the Metropolitan Museum to make their art photographs accessible on the web. This effort continued and on February 7th, one week ago, the Metropolitan announced that all images of public-domain works in the Met collection will now be available under Creative Commons. This is a huge step forward that will benefit us all. So too has been CAA’s path-forging efforts on Fair Use one of our most important and indeed revolutionary undertakings, for which I and others already are seeing considerable savings in terms of finances and time.
Art Matters. CAA members working together have achieved important ends. But we can and must do more. Art access inequality is not the only issue to attend to. Access to quality higher education is a vital concern for both us and our students, as are questions of student loan fees and affordability, along with the ability of professionals in our field to gain a viable living and secure employment in educational and art-linked institutions. I benefitted from my undergraduate training at a then inexpensive public university; my graduate school education would not have been possible without affordable student loans. I could not have written my Ph.D. without a government funded Fulbright fellowship. For me and many others, book projects would not have been completed without an NEH grant or others at tax supported institutions such as CASVA, the Clark, and the Getty. Museum exhibitions funded by both NEA and NEH are critical to what we do, and these same museums bring in billions of dollars in revenue to local cities and towns.
Art matters. And this is where CAA is critical as an organization, focusing with a new sense of urgency not only on the longstanding programs where we have excelled but also speaking out on core issues that are important to all of us – such as diversity, equal access, and sustainability. Social Activism is a key part of CAA’s Strategic Plan now. As we move forward, changes in CAA that are already underway and will become more evident shortly will help make our organization even stronger and more engaged – from the reenergized annual conference, to a far more dynamic web presence, from larger roles for our affiliated societies, to added benefits that will help members in their professional and personal loves. Art Matters. It matters to us. It matters to the communities and broader societies in which we live and work.
Suzanne Preston Blier
Thank you everyone who made this 2017 Annual Conference in New York a lively and vibrant event. The CAA staff, board, and myCAA helpers spoke with as many attendees as we could and attended as many sessions as we could. From what we heard at the conference, through official feedback channels and informal hallway conversations, people had a good time and learned. Attendees felt challenged and invigorated by the discussions. That is all we can ask. We received positive responses to our themes of inclusion, problem solving, and feedback. The shortened ninety-minute sessions were welcomed and attendees shared that the addition of more sessions on diversity and current politics gave the conference a much-needed vitality. For our attendees, we hope that myCAA collectively felt like ourCAA.
We look forward to carrying this energy and momentum into the 2018 Annual Conference in Los Angeles, February 21-24, 2018.
There will be many, many more images to come in the next few weeks. But here are a few that we wanted to share right away.