This is my last letter as President. It has been the most difficult to write because it feels so final. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as president these past 3 years. They went by so quickly and hold so many memories. There is so much I would like to say, and yet want to keep it short.
I am grateful to have had this opportunity to serve all of you and AAG. This was an opportunity to get to know so many of you that I might not otherwise have had an opportunity to know. As I have grown, I have witnessed your growth, too. I have seen the work evolve through the critiques, the shows and exhibitions, and hearing about what you are doing and where you are showing. It is an exciting time for all of us.
I have had an amazing group of people to work closely with through the years. Not just the board members, but also the committee members. We all worked together, mostly in harmony, in pursuit of a common goal: to advance the mission of AAG to promote the arts and artists through exhibition, education and outreach. I am grateful to all of you for sharing your gifts and graces, and influence my life. We have laughed really hard, cried, shared stories, births, deaths, illnesses, and life experiences together. Although volunteering is a huge time commitment, the payoff was beyond measure. In these 3 years, AAG has expanded its reach and I am fortunate to have been a part of that.
I am grateful to have succeeded David Bradley. He has become a mentor and a dear friend through this process. In the early days he guided and encouraged me, partnered on projects with me and then cheered me on as I flew on my own. I hope I can do as much for Ivan as he has done for me.
On a personal note, these 3 years have been a time of expansion and growth for me. I overcame my fear and loathing of public speaking — I would never have gone to China or Bangladesh if I hadn’t worked through that! This position provided me an opportunity to explore myself as an artist, a leader, and a public servant in a deeper way that I can accurately convey.
My life has transformed over the past ten years as I have been a member of AAG and AAG has influenced that transformation. AAG has helped me find my voice as an artist, to realize the social impact of my art and my artistic practice, and how my art can affect others and create change. In this nascent stage of understanding, I am excited to have the time to develop the work and see where it leads.
So I ask you, what does AAG mean to you? What have you gained? How have you grown? And if your answer is NO to these questions, then I ask, what is holding you back?
At one point I shared the famous Teddy Roosevelt speech, The Man in the Arena. I’d like to share it again one last time. AAG is in the arena. We have been dusty, fallen and risen time and again. We have prevailed for 90 years. I believe it is our clear mission statement that keeps us focus and grounded as an organization, and it is our core values of public service and encouragement that keeps us unified.
Onward with grace and gratitude,
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
– Teddy Roosevelt