November 29, 2021
Dear SAMA Members and Mosaic Art Community supporters,
The Board of Trustees held a full board meeting Monday, November 8, 2021 and I would like to submit this summary to you, our membership.
On October 19th, SAMA had a membership of 836 members. We sent an email announcement of our dire financial situation following our October Board meeting and explained our cutbacks, terminations and how we hoped to proceed. Of those members 30 members offered feedback and of those that responded 4 offered to volunteer. We did receive some very thoughtful suggestions. Unfortunately at this late date we would not be able to facilitate them without money and leadership.
We heard the shock, sadness and feeling of loss in personal calls and emails to the Board and Dawnmarie, as well as the many heartfelt comments on social media. A few members sent in donations and we are very grateful to receive them. But after agonizing consideration, lost sleep, daily meetings and discussions the bottom line is that SAMA, as it stands now, will not be able to move forward as a volunteer organization. Our operational and website systems are impossible to sustain financially and with only volunteers. The current Board of Trustees will end their terms December 31, 2021.
On November 8, 2021 the full Board of Trustees voted unanimously that we would be closing our nonprofit corporation as of December 31, 2021 and begin the process of dissolution of our nonprofit.
Before I lay out the dissolution process, should anyone want to put together a new Board of Trustees and take over the responsibilities and financial obligations beginning January 1, 2022 then contact me immediately. You will need to prepare a proposal and present a business plan to the full Board of Trustees by December 13, 2021. We are attaching the SAMA bylaws and standing rules for your understanding of how we are currently organized and governed.
The items that are required to move SAMA into a transition mode instead of dissolution are as follows:
- Proposal for a new SAMA
- Business plan (programs, costs, income projections, etc)
- Board of Trustees nominees
- Funding, including a minimum of $600.00 a month to continue the tech applications still in place
- Volunteers that will lead and sustain programming and member services without paid staff. If the new SAMA is to have a web presence, then one of the volunteers will need to be a web/tech manager
If no one steps forward to take on this responsibility then the dissolution of SAMA will go forward and become final on December 31, 2021.
We will not be holding the Member Meeting January 8, 2022, however it is necessary to hold an electronic vote for the dissolution of SAMA that is required by the states where our corporation was started. We will send each member an email regarding this vote by December 17, 2021.
Dissolving our nonprofit corporation will be a process that will require professional assistance from accountants and potentially attorneys, so we are budgeting every penny that remains. We thank those that did send donations following our announcement and will welcome continued donations and SAMA Store purchases to ensure all our dissolution costs are covered. The Board of Trustees has collectively donated enough funds to hopefully close our doors without bankruptcy. This requires moving quickly to stop incurring more expenses than are necessary. We will be terminating all technology that is paid monthly by December 31, 2021.
Our SAMA store will remain open to sell products so this will be the time to buy Groutline Anthologies and other publications and logo items while they are available. Decades of knowledge are in these publications and you will want them in your mosaic library. When you shop our SAMA store you help us leave debt free!
We are proud of SAMA’s many years of accomplishments. We feel our mission to educate, inspire and promote excellence in mosaics has been successful. There are mosaic schools, exhibitions, publications, online workshops, mosaic suppliers, regional mosaic groups, social media mosaic groups and mosaic artists that travel to studios or virtually teach around the world. Most of this did not exist until 1999 when 5 mosaic artists in Orangeburg, SC started SAMA, sitting at a kitchen table.
THANK YOU to the 1,000’s of volunteers, past Board of Trustee Presidents and Board members, Conference Chairs, Sponsors and Donors that have served SAMA for the last 21 years.
We want to express our gratitude for our staff and volunteers that create our Groutline publication and exhibition catalogues with unparalleled quality of content. Beginning in 2000 with founding President and editor Janet Kozachek, followed by George Fishman and Nancy Ancrum, 2B Custom Publishing team Barbara Dybala and Barbara Coots, and finally Shawn Newton of Shawn Newton Design who produced Groutline since 2015 along with the SAMA Story, Groutline Anthologies, and other exciting publications that are still available in our SAMA store through December 31, 2021.
We also want to thank Chris Forillo, who joined SAMA staff part-time as conference manager and Tim Stassines, who produced our signage, MAI catalogues and captured wonderful photographs to document years of SAMA conferences.
Our heartfelt thanks to Executive Director, Dawnmarie Zimmerman, who went from SAMA volunteer to SAMA’s Executive Director in 2005. Dawnmarie dedicated herself to our organization, going above and beyond in more ways than we can count. Her love for this organization and keeping our mission of excellence as her guiding principle is what made SAMA the incredible organization it became.
Lastly, I want to thank my Board of Trustees for the years of service to SAMA and the amount of time and money they have dedicated to this final process SAMA is going through.
We hope that more regional groups will form to fill the space that SAMA held in the mosaic community. This can be the opportunity for exhibitions, sharing art, teaching techniques and above all, bonding with fellow mosaic artists.
SAMA Board of Trustees President
October 19, 2021
Dear SAMA Members, Past and Present,
SAMA has overcome many financial challenges throughout our 21-year history. Leading up to the current pandemic, we were faced with increasingly difficult choices to ensure we were providing value to our members with high quality service and programs. These challenges were discussed at past General Member Meetings. We have outlined the declining membership, sponsorship, and program participation income alongside the rising costs to operate effectively.
The Board of Trustees and Staff have worked hard to serve our members while ensuring SAMA’s solvency in the face of our ultimate challenges brought on by the pandemic and the cancellation of our in-person events planned for Tucson, 2020.
With the cancellation of the Tucson Conference, we faced over $200K in refunds and cancellation penalties and were able to honor those refunds by working additional programming throughout this year. We are extremely grateful to many generous members and sponsors who did not take the refund and/or allowed us to apply credits to donations, membership renewals and our virtual programming.
Upon conclusion of our recent Fall Virtual Gathering Event and our annual fiscal year on September 30th, we have deeply examined our current financial health while also weighing projections moving forward. We are facing ongoing deficits and we are unable to continue operations without drastic changes. Preserving SAMA’s future will take a fundamental shift in how SAMA operates, including all benefits and programs.
Our current volunteer Board of Trustees has collectively served SAMA for a combined total of 65 years. It is the job of the Board of Trustees to exercise judicious fiscal responsibility. The decisions I am about to outline were considered with great care, long deliberation and with the utmost devotion to what is best for SAMA moving forward. I am grateful to be surrounded by a group of devoted and strong leaders who have our members’ best interest at heart.
With a current active Membership of just over 800 members, membership, sponsorship and donation revenues can no longer support the staff and technology systems we currently pay to facilitate our programing, benefits, and daily operations.
Effective October 31, 2021, we will suspend future production of the quarterly eJournal, Groutline, including our advertising program and will not renew our contract with Shawn Newton, of Shawn Newton Designs. Shawn has been editor and digital designer of Groutline since Fall of 2014. Her publication industry expertise combined with her passion and skill as a mosaic artist, made her the perfect fit to elevate our publication to a worldwide source for what is current and exciting in the mosaic art world. Her work to produce our printed Anthologies and her contributions to the conference and exhibition publications in collaboration with Tim Stassines, helped us set the standard for presenting mosaic art in print. We will be forever grateful for the contributions these two professionals have made to SAMA’s legacy.
Additionally, the Board of Trustees has accepted the resignation of our Executive Director, Dawnmarie Zimmerman, effective December 31, 2021. Her contributions serving SAMA for 17 years are unmeasurable and we are grateful for the years of conferences, exhibitions, and special events we all enjoyed. I can’t overstate the amount of ‘behind the scenes’ work she does for us, it can’t be calculated. She has generously agreed to relinquish her salary for the final two months of her post and serve SAMA as a volunteer to ensure the smooth transition of our operation back to its origins as a 100% volunteer organization.
The website itself will undergo changes as we end contracts with technical applications and move the current member data into a more cost effective and safe data management solution. The 21-year collection of Groutline in pdf form will remain available and accessible for all current members on the website. The SAMA store will still make available all in-stock publications and remaining SAMA merchandise; however, no new publications, merchandise or programming will be produced at this time. These financial cutbacks will necessitate suspension of the following programs:
- Mosaic Arts International (both in-person and virtual)
- American Mosaic Summit Conference (both in-person and virtual)
- 100 Moments in Mosaic
- Virtual Arts Gatherings
- Artist Gallery Seasonal Markets-the current marketplace will stay live through November 30, 2021
- Robin Brett Mosaic Scholarship Program
In addition, effective immediately, all Auto-Renewals on Memberships and Recurring Donations have been terminated and credit card information that facilitated those auto-payments has been deleted with our credit card processing company.
We have suspended accepting new memberships or renewals while we undergo the process to restructure our membership offerings, but current members will remain in good standing. We will be open to accept donations to help us keep our website, SAMA Store, and archives accessible during this difficult restructuring phase.
Moving forward, your Board of Trustees will be working to create a new strategic plan. Volunteers will be essential to meet the challenges ahead. To this end, we would like to hear from you. Share your thoughts about SAMA’s future here:
The Board of Trustees will host an open meeting at Noon EST on Saturday, January 8, 2022. We will compile comments and questions and have some answers for you then. You will be notified of details and registration in the coming months as well as volunteer needs.
Again, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank our dedicated staff for their tireless work to provide quality to our members. I would also like to thank you, our loyal members, sponsors, and donors who have stayed engaged and active during this challenging time. Your presence is what drives this Board of Trustees to ensure this organization we all love can thrive for many years to come!
Libby Hintz, Vice President
Susan Jeffreys, Treasurer
Donna Post, Secretary
Jacki Gran, Executive Board Member
Julie Dilling, Board Member
Kim Kelly, Board Member
Joan Schwartz, Board Member
Luis Alberto Rivera, Advisor