It felt like just yesterday we were wearing sweaters and thanking you all for a fabulous 2018 and here we are today, almost a year later, where the days are long, hot, and we’re ready for fall weather again.
But really, where has the year gone?
Over the last 8 months we’ve reviewed your survey responses, held multiple discussions with AIGA National and taken time to reflect on everything we’ve done over the last several years. We appreciate your patience as we’ve been silent the past several months working through it all.
After evaluating feedback from our survey, several discussions with our AIGA National mentors, and reflecting on our accomplishments and struggles throughout our term, we’ve finally got a plan of action for the future of AIGA Chattanooga.
On behalf of myself, Gabrielle Blades, Beth Paden, and guidance from our AIGA National Mentor Hugh Weber, we have concluded that it’s time for AIGA Chattanooga to take an indefinite break. We have loved every ounce of hard work and involvement that we’ve poured into our chapter the past few years. It truly makes this decision a difficult one and one that we felt we couldn’t rush into.
Emotionally this has been a difficult decision to come to, but as we’ve stated before we ultimately exist to serve you – our design community. Over the last couple of years we’ve witnessed more and more interest in grassroots efforts and less and less in larger nationally backed membership organizations such as ourselves. This isn’t due to lack of effort from many of our Chattanooga designers and supporters (to you all, we see you and thank you!) but rather it’s a shift that AIGA National is noticing across the country in various cities.
It’s difficult to truly express how we feel about this decision and our gratitude to everyone who has been a part of AIGA Chattanooga since its inception in 2006. The commitment of all board members, sponsors, partners, volunteers and attendees to elevating design in Chattanooga has resulted in a more visible and viable design community. Even with this decision to take a break, it’s clear that this chapter has been a success for our community.
To our members – your participation and support has been invaluable to us and your community. We have loved getting to know you and most importantly serve you.
To our sponsors and partners – your generosity over the years has been truly appreciated and we couldn’t have done it without you.
To our volunteers – we are forever grateful for the time and energy you all donated to make our events possible. It’s truly not possible without a team of passionate, driven individuals.
So, you might be asking what does this really mean for you?
To be clear, we’re not closing our chapter or deleting it out of existence, but we are putting a hold on events and partnerships into the foreseeable future.
If you are currently a member of AIGA Chattanooga your membership still exists and we encourage you to pursue opportunities to support and participate in the design industry and AIGA. As I hope you’re aware, Chattanooga has always been lucky to sit in a geographical position between two major cities – Nashville & Atlanta that are continuing to thrive and expand their local AIGA design chapters. Knoxville and Birmingham are nearby as well. We’ve reached out to each of the chapters and asked that they include you in upcoming event communications and community opportunities should you opt in. Switching chapters is as simple as logging into your profile on my.aiga.org and selecting another chapter from the list.
Nationally, AIGA continues to be the largest and oldest professional design organization with yearly conference opportunities and various online resources for designers in all fields.
On a local front there are always ways to engage in your community and get that added dose of creativity.
To note a few:
- Our past Events and Programming Director, Gabrielle Blades (Blades Creative), has started a small monthly meeting geared towards women designers with another designer, Eryn Garcia (NeatPony). Follow their instagram pages for details @LadiesDesignSocial
- Creative Mornings is always an option for that early morning boost of inspiration, happening the last Friday of every month. Go support this group and follow their instagram @chattanooga_cm.
- Keep your eyes peeled for other opportunities for meet-ups and events.
If you are interested in becoming a board member and igniting the flame again, please do reach out. I will remain active on email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and available to answer any questions and interests in being the next leaders of the chapter.
Finally, over the next few weeks you’ll see communications from us with farewell letters from each of our board members. And, of course, you’ll continue receiving communications about opportunities from AIGA National as long as you are a member.
From the bottom of our hearts, we may never be able to express how much we have enjoyed serving our Chattanooga design community. As for our board members, we’re still around thriving in our own ventures so please reach out – we’re always down to meet over coffee or cocktails!
Taylor Kinser (@create.nomatterwhat)
Beth Paden (@bee.paden)
Gabrielle Blades (@blades_creative)
Cheers to the future of design in Chattanooga!