Thursday, July 31, 2014

SAQA 2015 National Conference Updates on Planning and Volunteeri​ng

Hi everyone,
The planning for next year's national SAQA conference: "Fiberlandia" scheduled for Portland in April-May 2015, and for volunteering to help with the conference, is moving right along, and we thought you might like some updates. This email contains a letter from Deb Cashatt, Chair of the national Special Events Committee at SAQA National. I'll be sending a separate email with an update from Chris Brown and Diane Born who are heading up the Local Organizing Committee in Portland. Lots of relevant information here, so please take the time to read both emails - we're looking forward to having all our members involved in preparing for what promises to be a really good conference.
Thanks! and, as always, keep on making art!
Elizabeth Bamberger, SAQA Oregon Co-Rep

From Deb Cashatt:
Dear SAQA Oregon members,
As I'm sure you are aware, SAQA's 2015 Conference will be in Portland next spring. What you might not know is how much behind-the-scenes work has been going on already. I thought you might appreciate a little update from the Special Events Committee (SEC).

During the past few months we have been soliciting ideas for speakers, breakout sessions, and post-conference workshops. Any options that an attendee must register for have to be finalized before we can create the registration fornms and start advertising the conference. If we have meal choices, then the meals must be selected. Fortunately, our conference hotel (the DoubleTree) has several delicious-sounding buffets, and we've opted to go the buffet route.

Once we receive proposals from speakers and presenters, the committee meets to choose which ones we think would appeal most to our members. We attempt to have something for everyone, the beginning art quilter, the established professional, and the non-artist. We try to find a nice mix of business, art, academic, and entertaining topics.

Next we have to figure out what all of this is going to cost, so that we can develop a budget. We make a guess at how many people we think will attend, and set the price to cover our expenses. Are you still with me here? After we get the registration forms up on the SAQA website (we're shooting for mid-September 2014), the SEC can breathe a small sigh of relief, and the Conference Coordinator (this year it's Desi Vaughan) can really start working (not that she's been resting).

At the same time all of this is going on, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) has been trying to figture out how they can sell Portland to the rest of the SAQA membership. They sold Portland to the SEC. The SEC sold Portland to the SAQA Board. But what about the rest of SAQA's 3000 members? We want 200 of them (this also means you!) to sign up for the conference. The LOC has been trying to line up galleries to show fiber art; they've been recruiting volunteers; they're in charge of getting information from the SEC and getting it to you. And sometimes the information doesn't seem to flow quickly enough.

If you have volunteered to help with the conference but have not yet received an assignment, it's simply becasuse we haven't yet finalized all the LOC duties. But rest assured that we will be relying on you! No conference is a success without "boots on the ground" (our local SAQA members), but much of that work occurs closer to the actual conference. In the meantime, I've asked the LOC to get some suggestions for why people should come to Portland early and/or stay after the conference. I'd love to put quotes from locals on our registration page. We don't want people to make their plane reservations and then realize that they should have added a couple of days to go to the wine country. Just a couple of sentences from local members would be helpful. I know if Kris Sazaki were local, her quote would be something like, "If your flight arrives early and you can't check into your hotel room, go to Voodoo Donuts! It will make your wsait bearable." Or "Sally SAQA says, 'Don't forget to visit XYZ fabric store. I just love their selection of batiks." Or "Deb, the wino, suggests arriving a couple days before the conference and exploring the Willamette Valley." We need these before September 1, so send your quotes to Diane Born:, Chris Brown:, Betty Daggett:, or Elizabeth Bamberger:

Remember that budgeting back in paragraph 4? Well, registration fees only cover a part of the conference, so we have to recruit conference volunteers. Some will be national sponsors, some will be local. We also sell ads in our conference program - partly to pay for the conference, partly to give out-of-towners ideas for places to go. Do you have a favorite shop you'd like to share with the rest of SAQA? Write down the contact information or give it to the LOC. Soon we'll be asking for help with advertising. And don't forget, we'll want a few vendors for our vendor marketplace on the Thursday of the conference.

In short (I guess that should be "in long"), the SEC just has to get our ducks in a row before we know where we need help. We're almost there. Remember that small sigh of relief we are planning on breathing in mid-September? It's very short-lived. We've got to start filling in the rest of the conference tasks. But there's only so much we can do from the comfort of our computers in Virginia, California, Texas, Michigan, Connecticut, and even Portland. We'll start asking the LOC to recruit people for specific tasks. If you have ideas, send them to someone on the LOC. Just remember they have to get approval from the Special Events Committee, and we might have to get approval from someone on the SAQA staff. Even if we don't use your ideas here in Portland, it might be just the thing for Philadelphia in 2016 or the conference in 2017 - all of which we're working on at the same time we're working on the 2015 conference.

I can't wait for April 30, 2015. I look forward to seeing many of you in Portland!

Deb Cashatt, SEC Chair

PS: If you want to join in the fun, the SEC is accepting applications for our new members. Contact me for further information."

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