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Colin Blakely

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Colin Blakely


I can vividly remember attending a CAA conference as a graduating MFA student looking for a faculty position. The experience was completely overwhelming. The sheer size of the meeting combined with my own lack of a professional network left me struggling to find my way. When I re-engaged with CAA as an arts administrator years later, I was happy to find that the organization had greatly expanded its networking and mentoring programs aimed at emerging professionals. With each conference I have attended since, I have become increasingly more familiar with the organization and its members, and I now find myself looking forward to the opportunity each February to re-connect. Equally important, since that first conference I have gained a deep (and still expanding) appreciation for the myriad ways the organization serves the visual arts.
As school budgets have become tighter and Skype has emerged as a viable alternative to in-person interviews, fewer people are drawn to the annual conference for the same purpose that originally brought me there. As a board member, I would be an eager contributor to conversations surrounding areas that CAA could develop and/or expand as a way to engage new participants in both the conference and the organization as a whole. Of particular interest to me is early career mentoring/professional development and effectively engaging studio artists and designers in conference programming. These are areas in which I am most prepared to provide ideas and insight

In addition, as the arts have struggled nationally in the past several decades to maintain the support needed to impact society and culture in meaningful ways, few if any organizations have the critical mass and reach of CAA and thus are more strategically poised to advocate for the importance of the arts in contemporary culture. It is a battle I have been fighting during my entire tenure in higher education, and I would be excited to play a role in working with the organization to fully leverage its influence to maximize the important advocacy efforts in which it is engaged.

My time in higher education administration has provided me not only with experience building consensus around a shared vision, but knowledge of how to best implement that vision in a way that provides measurable outcomes. I also have considerable experience with budgeting and fund-raising that I am eager to share. When I look at the recent direction and priorities of CAA, I see an organization that is moving proactively in the right direction, and I would be honored and excited to utilize my experience in service to the mission of the organization.

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