On behalf of the entire Washington Print Club board of directors, I hope this missive finds you safe and healthy!
This has been an extremely unusual and tumultuous year. It began on a high note: the members’ exhibition Good Form, Decorum, and in the Manner: Portraits from the Collections of Washington Print Club Members” opened on January 25. It had a long and successful run until March 14 when it closed just as the first city-wide lockdown was declared. Nevertheless, we were able to hold a well attended conversation between Tim Doud, the show’s curator and professor of art at American University, and myself. The discussion and follow-up question and answer session were recorded and are available on the Club’s website. Also, we managed to hold one educational program in person: a visit to the exhibition of artist and Print Club board member Eve Stockton at the McLean Project for the Arts.
Thereafter things fell apart as the pandemic spread across the region. We had to cancel all planned educational programs. And, we had to postpone the Club’s annual membership appreciation event until (hopefully) the spring of 2021. The recipient of the young printmakers award—Olivia Rader from Catholic University—received the $1,000.00 honorarium and the certificate through the mail. And, the publication of the Spring/Fall issue of On Paper had to be postponed.
But the Club was able to pivot and adapt itself to changing realities. Several board meetings were held via Zoom. And, the board decided to use this moment to re-invent and re-design our website. A sub-set of the board worked tirelessly with a web designer to create the new website. The team was headed by Nancy Hirshbein and Melissa Fast as co-chairs. The other members were Mike Hagan, Beverly With, and Christopher With. Herb Cooper, the Club’s former web master, served as technical advisor and guru throughout the entire undertaking. A large round of virtual applause is due all of them.
Another sign of the Club’s adaptability was the decision to offer educational programs via Zoom. This not only had the benefit of reaching more people, but also to cast the net of available speakers beyond the local DMV region, including internationally. And, because of the new web site capabilities, these programs are recorded and available for later viewing on YouTube.
Our first online program was a discussion of the print works of the Japanese-American artist Chiura Obata, offered by Alex Mann, curator of prints and drawings at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum. It was followed by a conversation with master printmaker Phil Sanders, who spoke to us from his studio in North Carolina. Our third program was a conversation with National Gallery of Art curator Shelley Langdale. And, our fourth conversation was with artist Charlie Ritchie. Talking from his home studio in Maryland, he spoke about his latest works and discussed the techniques he uses to create multiple effects of light, shadow, and reflection. Two further programs already are planned for 2021: a visit with artist Soledad Salame (January) and, a discussion with printmaker and gallery director Ron Rumford (February). And others already are in the works!
Sadly, as is the case of all institutions as they age and evolve, several board members decided to rotate out of their board positions: Joan Root (recording secretary); Joan Cooper (membership chair), and Herb Cooper (web master). They all served long and well and their commitment and professionalism are greatly appreciated. The board gratefully acknowledges and proudly honors their years of service. Fortunately each of them has agreed to remain active members of the board.
The new recording secretary is Joan Filson. The new membership chair is Nancy Hirshbein. And, the web master now is Melissa Fast. The board welcomes them wholeheartedly and looks forward to their active involvement in the growth and evolution of the Club in the years ahead.
If you have not yet renewed your membership, we hope you will do so now to remain part of the exciting adventure that is your Print Club. Membership renewal and paymentnow all can be accomplished online. What a great improvement! And, if you have any questions about your membership or would like to purchase a gift membership, contact Nancy Hirshbein.
Most importantly, I thank you for being a Washington Print Club member and wish you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season.
Christopher With, President
The Washington Print Club