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Friday, October 26, 2012

Durham Arts Guild annual meeting 

As a fly on the wall inside the Durham Arts Guild's annual meeting, our editor can tell you the tenor was entirely different than last year when a hostile tension and divisiveness filled the room. It wasn't just that hungry bellies were soothed by a non-profit priced stack of pizza from Pop's Backdoor Pizzeria, either.

There was a genuine spirit of excitement in the air for new gallery coordinators, Katie Seiz and Laura Richie. The reason the Durham Arts Guild (DAG) appointed gallery coordinators, rather than a new director of the DAG, was in part because the membership was frustrated with the programming of the DAG's exhibits. In a response to that membership priority, the Board focused on the gallery programming by appointing Seiz and Richie.

The SunTrust Gallery, a sneak peak at the DAG's 58th Annual Juried Art Exhibition

The Durham Arts Guild programs the SunTrust Gallery at the Durham Arts Council and Room 100 at Goldenbelt in partnership with Scientific Properties. Right now, the SunTrust Gallery is hosting the DAG's 58th Annual Juried Art Exhibition. There is a ton of excellent work hanging, a plethora of Durham talent, which is what the membership wanted when they felt Durham was being shunted aside by the previous director for undesired New York Pop Art exhibits.

Seiz and Richie, sensitive to their audience, received nearly all membership comments with a "great suggestion" or a "good idea" and beaming smiles. There were some interesting ideas put forth including a public private partnership between the DAG and the Chamber of Commerce and/or Sustain-A-Bull Durham to help connect local businesses wishing to display art with local artists desiring to show their work.

How very Durham.

We did hear a lot of good suggestions from membership at last year's DAG meeting, too. After a frustrating couple of months, the Guild delivered on the two biggest of them, programming and more open communication. This thanks in no small part to interim head, Stephen Foster, who was terrific, according DAG Board Chairwoman, Trudy Smith. The hope is for even better this year, as Smith put it, "We expect [Seiz and Richie] to take it to the next level.

Also note:
The Guild is also partnering with Student U to pair ten young students with ten adult art mentors. Student U is a highly regarded local program for at-risk youth which previously had no arts component. Ms. Richie is serving as liaison to the program for DAG. Stipended mentoring opportunities are available.

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