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Re: [BKARTS] Those who Ignore History, etc.
Your point is well taken. It so happens that I was an early
board member of the CBA, and recently rejoined the board for another
stint. Over the past several decades I have had quite a bit of
experience sitting on many boards, both corporate and charitable, and
Paul is correct that both good and bad things can happen on both
for-profit and not-for-profit boards.
In the case of the NYCBA, there is no question that running an
organization of this sort has been a challenge from the very beginning,
and that keeping alive a vision such as this requires absolutely
enormous dedication...more so than it is almost conceivable to imagine.
However, the fact that some 30 years later the organization is still
functioning, and indeed growing, is truly a testament to a prodigious
amount of effort and self-sacrifice on the part of many people.
From my perspective on the board, I can certainly agree that the
NYCBA has had, and continues to have, more that its share of problems.
Chief among them is that we are dealing with an artistic constituency
that has very little overlap with the skill-set necessary to manage a
complex, ongoing, non-self-supporting organization with all of its
attendant and competing needs: education, exhibition, outreach,
fund-raising, payroll, human resources, facilities maintenance, member
relations, etc. Over the past quarter century it has been virtually
impossible to field an affordable full-time staff with all of the
differing talents that one would ideally like to have. As it is, we are
once again in the process of redefining the Center's staffing structure,
with a goal to improving its operations.
Richard Minsky, whom I have known since the 1970s (and whom I
very much admire, although I think "hero-worship" is not quite the right
term :-) has truly been the guiding light of the Center, both in the
beginning and at the present time. I'm not sure what the references were
to "shady finances, insider deals, withheld information and, yes,
hero-worship at the top, underpaid drudges at the bottom", but I can
state categorically that Richard has gone--and continues to go--out of
his way to make sure that everything is squeaky clean with the Center's
finances. In those cases where there has been even the appearance of a
potential problem, Richard has been the first one to raise concerns and
suggest remedial action.
Although I can't speak for the time when I was not on the board,
there is no question that in all of the time for which I have had first
hand experience with the NYCBA, Richard has given more, worked harder
and taken less than anyone could imagine. There is simply no question
that without his dedication, perseverance, contributions and sacrifices,
the Center for Book Arts would not exist. This is not
hero-worship...it's a fact. While Richard may not be everyone's cup of
tea, and, like the rest of us, is not perfect, anyone attacking him for
supposed inappropriate self-dealing with the NYCBA is simply way off
In any event, unless anyone would like to calmly raise
substantive questions about the NYCBA's historical operations or
finances, I suggest that we shift the discussion to ways in which the
New York Center's experiences can serve as either lessons or models for
the future in LA. I'm sure there are many ways in which those of us who
have been involved in New York would be able to assist with suggestions
or advice to the new west coast center.
-David S. Rose
Five Roses Press
(past and present board member, NYCBA)
From: Book_Arts-L: READ THE FAQ at http://www.philobiblon.com
[mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU] On Behalf Of Susan Lightcap
Sent: Sunday, October 06, 2002 11:36 AM
Subject: Re: [BKARTS] Those who Ignore History, etc.
This barely contained urge to flame is not edifying to those who are
interested in the discussion about the origins of NYCBA, advice to the
center in LA, and so forth. It seems to me that a bit less sarcasm and
whole lot more thoughtful reportage would be in order. If someone has
to grind, innuendo is hardly the way to do it, at least among adult
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