27 Dec Annual National Board Meeting: Zoom or Bust
The Graphic Artists Guild conducted our annual in-person National Board meeting in early December—virtually, of course! What is typically a two-and-a-half day meeting drawing executive committee members, regional reps, and administrators from around the United States was condensed down to three three-hour Zoom meetings. Despite the condensed time, the board was able to connect and achieve a great deal of planning for 2021. More importantly, we were able to connect and plan with several new board members and regional administrators. As is typical for these meetings, the meeting ended on a high note, with several new plans and initiatives in the works and a slew of new sketches documenting the proceedings.
New Accomplishments and Ongoing Progress
Diversity Committee: This year, the Guild initiated a new Diversity Committee, spearheaded by Aaron Selmon, our Midwest Associate Rep. The Guild began developing a Diversity Committee the previous year, recognizing through our participation in and support of events representing BIPOC perspectives. The creation of the committee was timely: as one of his first, Selmon weighed in on the Guild’s Black Lives Matter statement.
The CASE Act: The Guild continued to advocate strongly for passage of the CASE Act, working in tandem with creators’ organizations. Guild board and rank-and-file members contributed artwork for social media and PR campaigns, copyright infringement case histories demonstrating the need for the legislation, and articles. Members also participated in calls with Congressional staffers.
COVID measures: We published two pages providing COVID related resources, one being a list of resources and information on grants and economic relief, and the other being a hub with coping resources for working from home and maintaining a business. We also polled Guild members on how they were faring and used that data to advocate to Members of Congress for pandemic relief targeted to individual creators and microbusinesses.
Podcasts: The Podcast committee, led by South Admin Camille Fletcher, produced the first few Guild podcasts. The podcasts will be available on iTunes and Google Podcasts, and Podbean. The first podcast, a Q&A on the CASE Act between Midwest Rep James Bratten and Advocacy Liaison Rebecca Blake, was published.
Other Advocacy Initiatives: The Guild joined two amicus briefs that have far-reaching implications for creators and which went before the Supreme Court: Google LLC vs Oracle America, Inc. and Gold Value International Textile, Inc vs. Sanctuary Clothing, LLC. The Guild also submitted comments in response to the Copyright Office’s Notice of Inquiry on the definition of publication in an online environment. We also participated in discussions on proposed legislation to modernize copyright.
Board growth: Most significantly, this year the board welcomed a cadre of new members: James Bratten (Midwest Rep) and Aaron Selmon (Midwest Associate Rep); Joe Kandra (New England Associate Rep); Terrence Moline (South Associate Rep); Amanda White, Kevin Baculi, Anique Zimmer, and Beverly Delay (West Associate Reps), and Tamara Kelly (Western Admin). The new board members were warmly welcomed onto the board and appeared to be undeterred by 6+ hours of Zoom meetings.
Forecasting (as Best We Can) for 2021
The board’s carefully considered plans for 2020, developed during the 2019 board meeting, were set awry by crisis after crisis: the COVID pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and distractions in Congress, which put our advocacy efforts repeatedly on hold. Despite that, the Guild board and staff were able to redirect efforts to pressing concerns as emergencies arose. However, the board responded with agility and discipline, turning on a dime to meet the challenges thrust their way.
The 2020 Board meeting culminated with another set of strategic goals, formulated with the new reality of COVID-related restrictions in mind. Those plans include increased engagement with members, the production of resources (including the publishing of the next edition of the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines), the development of new initiatives, and ongoing advocacy work. However, 2020 was an object lesson on the need to remain flexible and responsive. That’s a lesson we’ll be carrying into 2021.
It’s a time-honored tradition that Guild members sketch throughout the board meeting, and then share their books at the end. This year was no different!
Liz DiFiore documented what members were drinking at our virtual after-party.
Guild name puns by Crisy Meschieri
Rose Lowry's portraits of Guild board members Joe Kandra, Terrence Moline, and Bill Morse
Guild Executive Committee Members as their DND archetypes by Liz DiFiore
Top image © Joe Kandra. Carousel images © Rose Lowry, Liz DiFiore, and Crisy Meschieri, and indicated. Use with permission.