MEMBERSHIP SURVEY

SOUTH BAY AREA WOMENS CAUCUS FOR ART
MEMBERSHIP QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS
Prepared by Carmela Rizzuto, President
August 23, 2000

SUMMARY

There were 51 (48%) completed questionnaires returned. This is an excellent response from members and the data can be used to help us plan for the future.

Description of Members

In general, the members pursue artmaking on a fulltime or part time basis. However, for most members artmaking is not a primary source of income. In addition to making art, members work in the art field as teachers or graphic designers. Their art media are predominately painting, mixed media and photography. An overwhelming number of members, 69 %, prefer no or little involvement in the chapter. Experience of the past few years has shown that members will turn out for primarily for exhibits and interest group activities. This finding has implications for the continued success of the chapter especially for filling empty Board positions and obtaining assistance for our projects.

Membership Benefits

Respondents consider the primary benefits of membership to be opportunities for networking and socializing with other artists, exhibiting their artwork and participating in interest groups. Of particular note is that 53% of respondents rate our national WCA affiliation as a least important benefit. Educational programs are also of low importance, probably due to the fact that there are so many competing opportunities for learning in the art field in the Bay area. When the most important and moderately important responses are added together, most of the benefits are of value to the members.

Programs and Exhibits

Responses to Items 6, 7 and 8 indicate that members are most interested in quality programs and exhibit venues that will promote the selling of their artwork. Selfjuried, member only exhibits are of least importance to members. Solo exhibits and juried exhibits on specific themes are the most highly rated. The majority of respondents had not attended a membership meeting within the last 12 months because of time constraints and conflicting priorities. There was some support for special programs at the membership meetings to improve attendance.

Communication

Because most of the organizations funds are spent on printed communication, Items 11,12 and 13 of the questionnaire dealt with the Newsletter and (detail), the art journal. Members are almost equally split on their support for a printed versus an e-mail version of the Newsletter. Because the Newsletter is a lower rated benefit, decisions related to it should be based on reducing the cost and effort involved in producing it, while maximizing its effectiveness as a communication tool.

Members are also almost equally split on the question of charging extra for (detail). There is no predominating reason for not wanting to pay for the journal. Receiving the journal is not among the highest ranked benefits of membership.

RESULTS

The responses are arranged so that the highest ranked responses occur first. Lower ranked responses follow.

1. Approximately how much time do you engage in making art?

2. What are your artmaking media?

Other primary media: Sculpture (4); installation (3); fiber (2); drawing (2); stoneware; pottery; ceramics; storytelling; writing; music/sound to accompany artwork.

Other secondary and tertiary media: Sculpture (4); textile (2); drawing; stoneware.

3. Is selling your artwork your primary source of income?

4. If you work other than as an artist, what type of work do you do?

Number of responses = 30

Categories of work: Teacher (13); graphic design (5); research (2); consulting (2); student (2); art history; museum tech; video production; volunteer.

5. Rate the importance to you of each of the following benefits of membership.

Other: Sharing with other artists; learning and support from others in same area; mentoring younger artists; critique groups; motivation; Board and curator opportunities.

6. Rate the importance to you of each of these types of exhibits.

Other: Theme exhibits; commissioned art work; exhibits promoting sales; juried exhibits at good locations; 2-3 person shows; cyberspace; mediocre exhibits are not compelling.

7. What types of venues for exhibits are most important to you?

N %
Galleries 44 86
Museums 39 76
Community sites 24 47
Corporate sites 21 41

Other: Cyberspace; alternative sites (e.g., WORKS/SJ); first rate exhibits at any venue; public art; opportunities for sales and commissioned art.

8. Rate your interest in each of these types of programs.

High Moderate Low
N % N N
Talks on art techniques 25 49 10 11
Visits to local galleries 21 41 16 11
General art-related talks 20 39 14 13
Talks on women artists issues 19 37 17 12
Visits to local museums 19 37 13 18 (35%)
Visits to artists studios 18 35 23 7

Other: Artists panels/ presentations (2); talks about women artists in other countries; national and international artists; public art viewing.

9. Have you attended a general membership meeting during the past 12 months?

No N=28 (55%)

Why? No time available (too busy) (13); distance and location problems; date and time conflicts; not a priority; attend interest group meetings; aversion to politics, and cliques.

Yes N=21 (41%)

Why? Networking and socializing (16); Board member responsibilities (2); curiosity as new member (2).

10. What can we do to increase attendance at membership meetings?

21 Responses: Special programs (8), e.g., well known artists, art critics, museum directors as speakers, show and tell, presentations by members, discussion with a leader. Make meetings thematic, e.g., yearly honoring of founders; focus on art; discussion of planning of exhibits; hold in daytime (S& S); carpool; advance notice (2); telephone invitation.

11. Which version of our chapters Newsletter would you prefer to have published?

Note: E-mail or web version would be printed out and sent to members who are not connected to the Internet.

N %
Paper version 20 39
E-mail version 19 37
Web site version 6 12

12. Rate the importance to you of each of these features of the Newsletter.

Most Somewhat Least
N % N N
Calendar of events 45 88 2 --
Announcements of 26 50 12 8
members exhibits
News about members 18 35 24 4
Reviews of exhibits 17 33 19 10
Special features 15 29 24 7

Other: Newsletter is good (2); listing of local and SF shows; where to get special supplies, who is good to photograph ones work, new methods, successes/problems; exhibit and grant opportunities; Presidents letter.

13. Would you be willing to pay an extra to receive (detail), the art journal?

Yes 24 (47%)
No 22 (43%)

Why not? Not interesting/not important (7); dues are high enough (4); too many other things to read (3); too intellectual/esoteric (2).

14. What level of involvement in the chapter do you prefer?

N %
No involvement 11 22
Low level 24 47
Moderate level 8 16
High level 2 4

Specify N=25: Most of the responses were reiterations of how busy most of the members were. Some respondents explained that they would be willing to help in small ways, e.g., helping with an exhibit, etc.

ITEM 15. Suggestions to change/improve the SBAWCA chapter

2. Create a more professional image. Im not sure how, perhaps more juried exhibitions. Recruit known artists. Recognized artists as mentors. Reviews of artist members.

3. More chances to network, critiques, regional (i.e. neighborhood) get-togethers. Send Newsletter on a timelier basis. Make deadline for news 2 months in advance since it can take 6-8 weeks from editing to receiving in the mail. E-mail Newsletter would be faster and cheaper, but I hate reading on-line, I would probably print it out and save the hard copy for reference.

4. Any painting or critique groups taking members?

5. More General Membership meetings in the San Jose Area.

7. Put Newsletter online and have it current. Provide an annual process for feedback such as this survey.

9. An easier location than Serra House. Higher public profile/marketing.

10. When I was very active in the chapter I was very happy with the way it was, and benefited a lot from contacts, shows and info.

12. More members of color be involved and recruited.

13. I am pleased to be a member and feel guilty that I contribute nothing back but my dues. If I had to contribute time I would have to quit.

15. More membership participation. Emphasis on FUNsuggestions from Board on member driven low key functions.

16. The chapter seems fine; its my life that needs to change.

18. That it went beyond offering camaraderie and democratic opportunities for local artists and occasionally embraced some sort of event/ artist that was a model, someone of national or historical importance.

19. I think that you are doing a great job. I just find that if I get involved with organizations that I dont have time and energy for my art. So I prefer to be a paper member.

20. More women in the 25-35 age range. Chat room on the web site for members only.

22.Would like to see more meetings to meet known artists, more opportunities to join sub- groups such as critique groups.

24. More exhibit opportunities.

26. I think that the Board should recognize the level of art that is produces by members and not try to push into higher arenas where we do not belong. Let the world come to us. More venues for one or two person show. The Serra house shows are an excellent example.

27. That you locate up here (SF) because youre wonderful.

28. Would like to attract a broader, younger age group.

30. Update the roster more frequently.

35. Not require membership in WCA as a prerequisite for Bookie membership. Eliminate "women" from name-just Art Caucus.

36. More culturally diverse very white, middle-aged and older. Better consistency and follow-through in all regards.

41. Develop higher profile in the community (arts and larger). Require minimum level of participation by all members.

42. More visibility in the community &, therefore, better venues, press coverage and attendance at exhibits. Would like to see e-mail, or newsletter, or both have listings of grants, residencies, and opportunities in time to make applications. Newsletter with web site, or e-mail, also.

43. Paper version of newsletter because I tend not to read lengthy e-mail

44. I prefer paper version of Newsletter because I get a lot of e-mail.

45. Nothing. I think that you are great! I only regret that due to family matters and big time constraints that I have not been able to so anything for SBAWCA. I am also a member of the Peninsula chapter where I know all the members. I take on a few jobs when I can there, and attend their meetings.

49. Would like SBAWCA to be known for high caliber exhibits and presentations/panels.

50. I have not been that involved with the chapter on the whole. I am finding the special interest groups to be very satisfying.

GENERAL COMMENTS SECTION: Initial number refers to the Questionnaire item number.4. In Newsletter-I am not interested in shows that are distant and would prefer to hear an artist talk about what inspires her, how she works through dry spells, i.e. a more personal discussion of life in artmaking. More of an artist-to-artist approach rather than promotion, marketing, advertising of shows that I will never see.

7. SBA provides a much needed organization for women artists who a have uniquely sharing and generous attitude. We are small enough to know most of our members. I do not feel that bigger is necessarily better. We do need to have more support from the presently non-participating members. Hopefully this survey will indicate how we may achieve that.

25. You are doing a responsible and good job and it makes me feel tired.

26. I used to be active and have gained tremendous benefit from SBA contacts and opportunities to develop skills. I still get benefit from the association, i.e. a year ago I found my art teaching job through an announcement in the Newsletter. The SBA serves people at specific periods of their art careers.

27. Thanks for having me.

29. Looking forward to the Regional Conference.

34. I have been active in the Open Studios Committee and intend to continue. As for the WCA, I think that I am more of a supporter than an active member.

35. Im just not a club-oriented person. Im in the WCA because of the Bookies group. Thats it. Regrettable, but Im trying to put some limits on myself to save my sanity.

39. My experience is that some Board members are not very welcoming or warm.

50. I want to be part of an art community but so not want to be in charge of anything or an office holder. My personal life has been too demanding. My family is my primary responsibility, then comes my art. No. 1 is making art, and then showing and selling it if possible.

51. More programs on women artists issues; more programs on the art world trends.

Conni Rizzuto