Hello! AIGA Members and Friends!
We are a month and half into the new year and I cannot believe it, can you? I don’t know about you, but I’m always excited to start the new year off with a healthy dose of reflection and a brand new daily planner. In preparation for the first AIGA Chattanooga Board of Directors meeting in January, I decided to share some of my reflections of the past year with my fellow board members. One of the highlights for me was becoming the board president in July. Earlier in the year I had the opportunity to attend the ELEVATE: AIGA Leadership Retreat in Denver, Colorado and to my surprise came back more enthusiastic about my involvement in AIGA than anything I could have imagined. I felt supported and exhilarated to be a part our amazing local and national design communities. It had never occurred to me that I would someday have these experiences and that I’d feel so completely passionate about design and leadership, as I do now. Being a professional artist, married to a designer and having collaborated with him on a handful of projects I knew there was a place for me in AIGA, but I had never imagined the extent with which I’d have the opportunity to serve my fellow artists, designers and members, share in the growth of our design community and meet and become friends and partners with so many of you.
Last year was also undeniably a bit of a whirlwind, with an entirely new board and a clean slate we boldly embarked. And together we set forth accomplishable goals to secure our organizations infrastructure and sustainability. With our local mission and vision, “To be the voice and bridge for Chattanooga’s design community” at the forefront, we decided that (re)building relationships with our members and community partners was vital to our chapter’s growth, change, and function. We were determined to improve upon our support of design, in our community. Opportunities to partner with Society of Work, The Open Press and TopCon were huge highlights for us last year. And, participating in MAINx24, by co-hosting an All Member Poster Design Show was spectacular! It was incredible to have sixteen of our sixty-five members submit their poster designs and be willing to share in the experience of growing design in our community. Personally, being invited to share with East Ridge Middle School girls enrolled in the Girls, Inc./S.T.E.M programs there, about my life as an artist and how design and technology have been influential in my career, was a huge highlight and will have a long-lasting impact on my life and work.
Upon reflecting a bit deeper, my thoughts led me to focus on our members and our area design students. It became clear to me that our members and students should know more about what was happening on our board, in our chapter and within the design community. Also considering what it might look like to lose innovative creatives and designers, to bigger cities, with highly developed and active art and design communities, awakened me.
As a result of reflecting and sharing my thoughts with the board, we decided that 2015 would be the year of communications. And so the AIGA Chattanooga Board of Directors through the guidance and leadership of our Communications Director committed to emailing two pieces of communication each month, essentially a bi-monthly newsletter. Something I cannot remember our chapter ever having done before. (Eek!) The first newsletter of each month will always contain a note from the President or a Director. It will also include a list of “Save the Dates” (see below), our way of telling you about upcoming events, programs and involvement opportunities that we think you might be interested in. The second newsletter of the month will always highlight one of you, an AIGA member. We think it is the right time in our chapter’s history, that you should have a place to voice your stories, ideas, projects, and questions. We believe hearing from you will help us become better at supporting you, and serving our broader design community, collectively becoming a vital cultural force in the city of Chattanooga. I believe it is time for us to make communicating consistently with you our top priority. I’d love to know what you think. What goals have you set this year? What exciting design projects are you working on? What are your plans for further involvement in our design community? Join us! Share with us!
Cat Collier Martinez, President, on behalf of the AIGA Chattanooga Board of Directors