Hi Friends,

This month marks an important moment in the evolution of the Guild of Scenic Artists. We’ve set the pieces in place to become sustainable. What does that mean? It means we’re here to stay, and with the recurring funds from membership dues, we’ll have a greater capacity to provide valuable resources and events focused on exactly the things that you need.

We understand that we’re asking something of each of you, and we don’t do that lightly. So, we’ve spent the last eight months working on a brand new member experience with lots of new features, and we’re eager to debut it. You’ll be able to find other members across the country, see their work, message them privately, and be a part of something much bigger– while still feeling like you’ve found a small family of your peers.

Personal connections are crucial to this profession. Without mentors we would not have learned our craft, without feedback we would not be better painters, without networking it is difficult to further our careers. And most of all, without connections we never would have had the chance to belong. We’re about to make those connections more effortless, less anonymous, and ultimately the Guild is becoming a better resource for you.

Carrie Ballenger hosted the Guild’s first Scenic Social this March at her shop in Princeton, NJ.

Dues may come as a shock, or you may have wondered why it didn’t happen sooner, or you may not care in the least one way or the other. But this is how we must move forward. We need funds to provide you convenient access to your inconveniently spread-out community. One hundred percent of dues go to costs like website administration, insurance, in-person events, and programming. These costs have increased as our community has widened.

The Guild board is no public radio. We don’t know how to do member drives or how to solicit for donations. We’re a paint-spattered crew of Scenics who volunteer our time to foster a community for an industry we care deeply about; an industry of peers who have long desired for connection and focus. Brigitte Bechtel, Charge Artist at Arizona Theatre Company, expresses the value of that focus:

“It is wonderful to have a Scenic Art-specific organization to network within, discuss issues, and explore more about the work we do. The larger industry organizations, such as TCG and USITT, are fantastic as well but it often requires a bit more wranglin’ to ‘find your tribe’ within these groups.”

And Karen Glass, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Seton Hill University, bravely admits there is always something to learn from your peers:

“It has been so good to know that there is a beautiful, helpful, non-judgey community of Scenics out there who could help me out [on the Guild Forum]… Even after 30 years of working it all out on my own, I still really want that help and support.”

From one Scenic to another: Please move forward with our community and share your journey with the others waiting there to greet you.

We’re here to stay.

-Tina Yager and Lili Payne, President and Vice President


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