|Excellent question... those who attended meetings during the 2002-2003 season know that things were mighty, uh, "spartan" as far as facilities, food, etc. We did present some outstanding speakers, but board members frequently outnumbered paid attendees, and only the large number of student attendees prevented events from being cancelled.
Basically, the bad economy and specifically the dismal graphic arts economy hit ACD particularly hard as companies looked to trim budgets (there goes sponsorship and membership funds) and increase productivity among those lucky enough to keep their jobs (there goes board member and attendee support). These were not overnight happenings, but the board could not continue to prop up the entire infrastructure on its own, especially in light of dwindling professional attendance.
Art Center Dayton does have a long tradition, and has weathered storms in the past. However, until there is a substantial improvement in the economic climate and a perception of stability in the employment market, reviving ACD is highly unlikely.
We sent out an SOS in fall of 2003 to judge interest, and received just a few responses, with nobody expressing serious interest in committing to a leadership role or financial support. We did receive an inquiry from a design firm considering "adopting" the group as an in-house project, but nothing more has come from that inquiry. There was also talk of folding into the Dayton Ad Club, but that notion also seems to have died in committee.
So, it's up to YOU if you want to see ACD revived and restored to its former glory. Some of the infrastructure remains in place, but it would take the efforts of a board of five to eight dedicated people to get it back on track, plus support from trade sponsors. As past presidents, Gary Haschart and I would be willing to advise a new board as to the operation and procedures of the group, however neither of us can take on the duties of a full-time board position. If you're interested, call me, Gary McBride at 937-254-2711.
Until then, I suggest you get informed about just what's happening to our economy, and get involved in national and local efforts to DO something about it, before it's too late.
Thanks to all who did support Art Center Dayton over the years. It was good while it lasted. And maybe it will rise again.
-- Gary McBride, March 29, 2004