American Mosaic Summit, May 12 – 17, 2020 and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
March 28, 2020
Please See 2020 Conference Update Page for Full Announcement on Rescheduling of the 2020 American Mosaic Summit in Tucson, AZ.
March 21, 2020
With today’s update, I would like to begin by sharing my deepest gratitude for all of our SAMA Membership Community who have been incredibly patient and supportive as we have all worked to adjust to our new lifestyles filled with uncertainty. On behalf of the SAMA Board of Trustees, dedicated Volunteers and Operations Team, THANK YOU!
I am pleased to share that our venue partners in Tucson are working with us to contract new dates for our American Mosaic Summit and Mosaic Arts International exhibition series. By early next week, we should have finalized re-negotiated contracts and set up a process for currently registered attendees to transfer their registrations to credit for the next program, donate their fees to SAMA or request cancellation refunds. Your patience throughout the past few weeks has helped us do the work needed to plan for this transition. Thank you!
So, for now, let’s start the weekend off with a fun activity our conference attendees participate in each year, and blow it up for our entire membership. Let’s reach out to each other in isolation and exchange tesserae!
March 17, 2020, 9:00pm EST
On Sunday evening, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) added to their recommendations to fight the spread of COVID-19, a restriction on gatherings of over 50 people nationwide for the next 8 weeks and was later supported by the Arizona State Department of Health Services. After growing concerns for our attendees, we are adhering to the recommendations and The American Mosaic Summit, will NOT occur as scheduled, May 12 – 17, 2020.
As of today, we are suspending the conference registration, vendor registration, sponsor commitment, and Mosaic Art International exhibition entry processes until further notice.
We are asking you for a few more days to work through the details of potentially postponing the conference before attendees begin placing changes to hotel reservations or placing requests for conference registration cancellation refunds. We are building a process for submitting cancellation requests moving forward and will not be able to address cancellation requests received this week until the new system is in place to expedite the process.
I began working with the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort on examining our opportunities to reschedule the conference earlier last week in anticipation of this restriction. As you might imagine, the Loews is faced with several months of cancellations and rebookings and is working with a slim staff due to their safety protocols. They are working as best they can, as we all are in making shifts to our daily lives and businesses to ensure we slow down the spread of this deadly virus. I am awaiting a response from our discussions for critical details (particularly, a new set of dates!) so that I can move forward with the process of creating instructions for you.
I understand that everyone has had more uncertainty and change than seems reasonable over the past couple of weeks. I had hoped to have more information prior to making another announcement, but with the new development Sunday evening and continued closings and restrictions being put in place, our optimism to move forward with an event in May that could be safe for all has expired.
I am looking forward to finalizing a new plan for our events that will ensure our attendees, vendors and the visiting public at our events will have an enriching experience at a time when everyone who wishes to attend, can do so safely!
Thank you again for your continued support and patience. I hope to have a great deal more for you very soon!
Dawnmarie Zimmerman, SAMA Executive Director
March 13, 2020 2:00pm EST
On Tuesday morning, we sent the first of what will become weekly check-ins with our Members and Registered Conference Attendees for the American Mosaic Summit, scheduled in Tucson, May 12 – 17, 2020.
Since that notice, a great deal has changed, and a wider acceptance is sinking in as to the scope of impact this global pandemic will have on daily life. State and Local Authorities with high numbers of documented as well as presumed cases of COVID-19 are prohibiting public gatherings throughout March and into April. Many business leaders, especially in the sports and entertainment industries are taking action on their own and suspending, cancelling or rescheduling entire seasons. My college sophomore is now home with me for the remainder of the semester as many of you may be spending extended Spring breaks with young ones.
As of sending you this note, we are still moving forward with plans to execute the conference with excellence and safety for our devoted members in May. Over 300 Members are registered, but as event cancellations across the country and numbers of members affected grow as predicted, we will need to potentially make hard decisions in the coming weeks. So, we are moving forward with the utmost optimism, but we are preparing for difficult days to come. Our annual gathering has survived blizzards, a tornado and several rounds of what came to be called SAMA Flu over the past 18 years, but as we are all experiencing, this crisis is unprecedented.
We are exploring potential alternative delivery of conference content and examining recommended best practices to keep attendees safe. We are also examining our contractual liabilities (and possibilities, including rescheduling events) and considering our vulnerable financial solvency to ensure SAMA preserves essential member benefits moving forward as well. We will work with attendees who have been directly affected by the virus one-on-one in the coming weeks and again wish for the best possible outcomes for all.
I do not have all the answers right now, but I am working diligently with our team and partners so that we can make the best decisions possible for our members and the organization. I deeply appreciate your patience and support while we work through this together.
SAMA’s annual conference and exhibition series have been the heart and soul of SAMA’s legacy and facing this challenge as we are to be celebrating our 20th year is heartbreaking for me and the dedicated all-volunteer board and proud host team in Tucson.
The key right now as the SAMA team works through the potential scenarios and coordinates with Visit Tucson and the Loews Ventana Canyon as well as the Arizona State Department of Health Services, the CDC and WHO is to stay in communication and keep our members and attendees as informed as possible.
This is the first of what will be weekly updates as we monitor and consult with professionals moving forward. Please watch our COVID-19 status update page on the SAMA Website and your email inbox for these updates.
Meanwhile, we hope everyone is taking recommended precautions for themselves and staying mentally and emotionally healthy during this difficult time.
In our next communication, we will share ways to stay connected to our Mosaic Community while practicing self-isolation in the coming weeks. We recommend you head to your studios, take inventory and visit one of our Business Level Member Websites and get stocked for some collective mosaic making art therapy! (and be patient if they are not currently stocked with exactly what you need!). We are working on project ideas for you all and a way we can interact meaningfully from our studios!
On behalf of the SAMA Board of Trustees and the 2020 Tucson Host Team, Thank you very much for your understanding. We will get through this together!
Dawnmarie Zimmerman, SAMA Executive Director
March 9, 2020 9:00pm EST
The American Mosaic Summit will take place as scheduled, May 12 – 17, 2020, in Tucson, Arizona at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.
We have a great concern for the health and safety of our volunteers, instructors & presenters, vendors, member attendees, and visitors. We will be working with our destination partners in Tucson as well as following the guidance of the Arizona Department of Health, the US Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization to assess developments and respond as needed in the coming 60 – 90 days.
We recommend all members, especially our 2020 registered attendees stay informed and monitor the websites listed below for practical preventative tips and recommendations in addition to consulting with your physician.
At this time the Conference Cancellation Policy remains in effect, and plans to execute an excellent conference experience for everyone are moving forward.
Please bookmark this page for updates. If changes or updates are made, SAMA Members and Conference Registrants will be notified via email.