VRA summer update

Dear VRA colleagues,
As the days grow shorter and the evenings become increasingly crisp (for those of us in the the northern hemisphere!), I am writing to update you on a few VRA developments from this summer.

First I want to first express deep gratitude to my fellow Executive Board members Jasmine Burns, Jen Green, Allan Kohl, Cindy Abel Morris, Chris Strasbaugh, and John Trendler for their ongoing dedication to the Association. In addition to performing specific tasks associated with their positions, throughout the year Board members address a broad array of issues relating to VRA operations, membership, professional engagement and advocacy, communications and outreach, and publications. Board members, all volunteers, are committed to advancing the interests of our profession and our members, and I am constantly amazed by their unwavering energy.

Mid-year meeting
The Board met in Seattle for our mid-year meeting in July. We addressed the annual operating budget, long-range financial planning, and considered the overall state of the Association. A significant and routine part of this annual meeting is reviewing mid-year reports from officers and various appointees, task forcescommittees, and chapters. We are now in the process of sharing our formal responses to these reports. In the meantime, we extend our sincere thanks with every VRA member who serves the Association. As always, there are wonderful developments underway at both international and regional levels. While these activities are documented in annual reports and posted for members’ access on My VRA (MemberClicks), one of the Board’s goals in the coming months is to facilitate more regular, year-round sharing of news from these various entities within the Association.

2016 Seattle ARLIS/NA + VRA Joint Conference planning and website
As part of the ARLIS/NA + VRA Joint Conference advisory team, Board members also met in Seattle this July with ARLIS/NA leaders and members of the Joint Conference Implementation Team, led by Co-Chairs Alan Michelson and Josh Polansky. I’m very pleased to say that the conference planning process is proceeding smoothly under Alan’s and Josh’s excellent leadership, and details relating to the program and local arrangements are coalescing into an exciting set of offerings that you won’t want to miss.

The conference website is now live at http://www.arlisna-vra.org/seattle2016/. The program will be published soon, and registration will open in December. More information is forthcoming, but for now, mark your calendars for March 8-12, 2016! Consider scheduling your arrival so that you can register for the THATCamp digital humanities unconference scheduled for March 8. Also, note that the annual meeting of the Association of Architecture School Librarians (AASL) will be held March 11-13 at our conference hotel, The Westin Seattle, with plans for some reciprocal cross-listed programming of interest to joint conference attendees. For those wishing to attend the entire AASL conference, we’ll share registration information when it becomes available.

VRA endorsement of CAA’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts
The VRA Intellectual Property Rights Committee and the VRA Executive Board have carefully reviewed CAA’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts, which I am pleased to announce that VRA has endorsed. You can find the letter to CAA leadership from the VRA Executive Board, including the VRA IPR Committee’s response here: http://vraweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/VRA_Response_CAACode_20150903.pdf.

This is an opportune time to remind you all about VRA’s own Statement on the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study. An excellent model of community standards in the application of fair use, the Statement is well suited for sharing with colleagues and others at your institution, such as students and legal counsel.

Working group investigating webinars and online workshops
Vice President for Conference Arrangements Cindy Abel Morris has assembled a working group to investigate online learning opportunities to be offered by VRA, such as webinars and workshops. In addition to Cindy, the group includes various representatives from VRA and the VRA Foundation: Anna Bernhard (past VREPS Co-Coordinator), Melanie Clark (Membership Committee Chair), Marie Elia (VREPS Co-Coordinator), Jen Green (President-Elect), Jen Kniesch (past Web Technology Coordinator), Beth Wodnick Haas (Education Committee Co-Chair), Denise Massa (instruction expert), Stephen Patton (Communications Technology Advisor), Elaine Paul (President), Molly Schoen (VREPS Co-Coordinator), Chris Strasbaugh (Vice President for Conference Program), John Trendler (Public Relation and Communications Officer), and Betha Whitlow (VRA Foundation Board representative). We hope to offer a pilot webinar this fall; stay tuned for details.

Joint VRA and VRAF Task Force on Development and Fundraising
VRA has partnered with the Visual Resources Association Foundation to create a Joint VRA and VRAF Task Force on Development and Fundraising, with a charge to develop a strategy and a road map for identifying, planning, and implementing a portfolio of fundraising and developing initiatives for both VRA and VRAF. Billy Chi Hing Kwan (VRAF) and Marie Elia (VRA) are serving as co-chairs, with members Barbara Brenny, Chris Strasbaugh, Christine Hilker, and Linda Reynolds.

Dissolution of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter
Following a five-year period inactivity within the Greater Philadelphia Chapter, the Board has voted to dissolve the chapter. While this is a regrettable development, the reality is that the critical mass of VRA members needed to sustain a chapter did not exist in the area. Fortunately, depending on their locations VRA members in Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Southern New Jersey can join the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, or Greater New York Chapters.

Best regards,
President, Visual Resources Association

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