In September 2019, the IPCA board was pursuing potential venues for the next Synergy event. I toured several locations in the Washington, DC area, looking for the perfect spot for the next IPCA event.

The COVID pandemic caused us to regroup, rethink, and retool many programs and events to meet our members' need for connections within the polymer community. It became obvious that we would not be able to host an in-person event for the foreseeable future and transitioned to twice-weekly Zoom talks and clay-days. 

We introduced the first Global Exhibition of Members’ Work which was an enormous success with 170 entries and 74 participants from around the world. In fact, we just announced the dates for the second annual global exhibition.

It’s one thing for a board to try to provide content and another to fulfill a stated need. This summer, we surveyed current and former members of the IPCA about their program preferences, and we learned a lot! For example: 

  • If the IPCA were to hold a major event in the next 18 months, which formats appeal most to you?

The majority chose a hybrid (in-person/virtual) event followed by an exclusively virtual event. Hands-on classes, retreat, and conference were dead last.

  • How likely are you to attend an event held online? 

8 out of 10 said yes!

  • What should be the focus of the IPCA? 

Two thirds of you preferred monthly zoom programs such as audio tours, artist chats, themed discussions, etc.

In response to the survey, Kathryn Corbin, our VP of Program Development, has crafted a program designed to bring desired content to our members on a rotating pre-scheduled basis. Starting in 2022, we will bring you SUNDAY SPECIALS: TALK, TECH AND TOUR.

  • TALK -a drop-in zoom chat with a polymer artist: their work, their path, their aha moment, their WTF moment.
  • TECH-A how-to session on studio skills, such as photographing your work, teaching via zoom, socialmedia marketing, image editing, sharpening your design skills, etc.
  • TOUR-A private visit to an artist’s studio to see their work in progress, preferred methods, inspirations andeven some secrets. Shhhhh! xThe recordings of these Zoom Specials will be accessible to all IPCA members, as well as any links, PDFs, collateral materials referenced or provided; thus, building an exclusive archive of education, resources, and skills. 

As with all grand plans, there is a catch, even if we had every Board position filled, there is more to do than seven people can handle. We need volunteers. Specifically, we need, in order of importance:

  • Global Exhibition Committee- four to six volunteers to help mount the online exhibition by creating artist articles, the galleries, and the global map of members’ work. Training and documentation will be provided. 
Commitment would begin November 15 and last through the Exhibition Opening in February.
Skills needed: familiarity with word processing and/or blogging, digital photography experience a plus but not required.

  • Zoom Specials Committee- six volunteers organized into three teams (Talk, Tech, and Tour). Each team will be asked to schedule four artists or subject matter experts relevant to their assigned topic. 
Commitment is variable depending on team’s topic.
Skills needed: organizational and communication skills, online research skills, ability to ‘cold call’

  • Board Members- we currently have openings for VP-Membership Development and Secretary. In 2022 the positions of President, Treasurer, and VP-Communications are up for election. 
Commitment: 1-2 years, depending on Board Office.
Skills needed: varies. Click here to read descriptions of the Board Offices.

  • Event Committee- four volunteers plus select Board members to start work on a significant IPCA event (hybrid format or 100% virtual).
Commitment: 1+ years
Skills needed: organizational, event planning, and communication skills

The IPCA, as with most nonprofit organizations, has had its share of ups and downs. We have been fortunate that our Board members are so dedicated to the Association’s success. I have been blessed to have made such wonderful friends over the years, and many of these friends started out as volunteers for the NPCG, and later for the International Polymer Clay Association.

When you joined the IPCA, you were asked about areas in which you would like to volunteer. Well, now is your chance to give back and help the Association grow. I hope that you will join our current volunteers and help us create these important community building opportunities.

To let us know your preferences, please click here, and add your name to the committee of choice.

Wishing you a lovely Fall (or Spring!) Season,

Barbara Forbes-Lyons

IPCA President

IPCA2016 Horiz

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