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nceca conference 2008 change of city

updated sat 21 apr 07


Clayart SCtag on thu 19 apr 07

To the NCECA Membership,
From the moment that the NCECA Board received the unsettling news from the=20
Hyatt in New Orleans that they would be unable to provide a home for our 20=
conference, we have been working together to solve the sizable problem that=
their actions created.

First, I want to take this opportunity to provide our membership with an =20
up-to-date report on the results of our efforts since then and how the Boar=
evaluated the options that were presented to form the conclusion and plan b=
presented in this message today.

It was just over a month ago, a day before our conference began in =20
Louisville in March, that the Hyatt informed us of their inability to rebui=
ld their=20
property in New Orleans that was severely damaged during hurricane Katrina.=
This news was staggering for the NCECA Board and staff, and especially so f=
the site liaisons, considering the amount of effort that had already begun=20
towards the preparations for the 2008 event. I also have to mention the =20
emotional impact it had on those individuals but to the greater arts commun=
ity of=20
New Orleans and the region.

We were immediately forced to evaluate the New Orleans situation, as well a=
beginning to look elsewhere for a site that might serve our needs in 2008.=20=

Our initial efforts were focused on trying to keep things in place for New=20
Orleans, especially since the first change from Katrina was already felt=20
through the re-location of the 2007 event to Louisville, KY. Returning to N=
Orleans was a way to show our support for the city, its artists and arts=20
organizations. These early efforts to save our preferred location for 2008=20=
became =20
increasingly difficult as soon as we began the practical matter of seeking=20
suitable hotel space to meet the number of rooms needed for the 2008 dates.=
addition, and considering our original plans to house the entire conference=
programming needs within one hotel location (Hyatt), our programming needs=20=
could only be met by using the New Orleans convention center. The combinati=
of hotel and convention locations immediately caused concern, especially wh=
the surveys indicated how much our membership prefers to have these =20
entities in close proximity to one another. The new hotel venue, Marriott,=20=
nearly one mile away from the convention center, making it necessary for al=
conference participants to either walk this distance or travel by private b=
us from=20
one site to the other. While we have dealt with this in the past, most=20
recently in Portland where attendees had to travel by streetcar from the ho=
tels to=20
the convention site, it was clear from the feedback from Louisville this =20
year that the convenience of the hotel to the convention center is somethin=
highly preferred by our members and attendees.

Additionally, there were date conflicts with the hotel arrangements as the=20
only time we could schedule our conference around the available hotel and=20
convention center dates would be in mid-April instead of the desired and=20
traditional dates of March. With the help of a recent survey to our members=
hip, it=20
became obvious that the later date in April would prove difficult for many=20=
members. As a result of all of this information, but with great disappointm=
we were forced to seek other alternatives sites that might fill the gap lef=
as a result of the Hyatt's disclosure that they would not be able to suppor=
our conference in 2008.=20

As a Board, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the organization and to=20
our membership - both today and for the future. When we coupled this=20
responsibility with our desire to present a viable location for our next co=
we knew that a decision on a new venue was paramount.

Consequently, and with the continual work of both our staff and board=20
members collecting information on alternative sites, along with the guidanc=
e of our=20
advisory board as well as our senior advisor, Joe Wedding, several potentia=
venues were pursued. We considered a wide range of issues that guided our=20
selection of a suitable replacement city, some of which included acceptable=
dates in March of 2008, cost, hotel space, programming and gallery facilit=
along with location, dining and other intangible aspects that help add=20
greatly to the NCECA conference experience. Through this detailed effort, w=
took several weeks to complete, we were fortunate to discover that one loca=
Pittsburgh, PA, met these requirements better than any other site we=20
researched for the preferred time period.=20

So, it is with great satisfaction and pleasure that I officially announce=20
the selection of the city of Pittsburgh to our members, as the 2008 confere=
site for March 19-22, 2008.

While the decision was an arduous one, it is the product of many people=20
working long and hard to find resolution. The selection of Pittsburgh meets=
immediate needs, but perhaps more importantly, it also provides an opportun=
for us to present the NCECA conference in a location that will be hosting u=
for the first time in the 41-year history of NCECA. With the wonderful=20
ambiance of the three-river city of Pittsburgh, known for its rolling lands=
cape =20
and ethnic influences in everything from music to traditional dance and=20
memorable dining, we are confident Pittsburgh will provide us with a most s=
home for our 2008 gathering.

Supporting six different colleges and universities, a modern international=20=
airport facility, a thriving arts community that includes the world class=20
Andy Warhol Museum and more than a dozen historical and cultural attraction=
s, as=20
well as a general population of nearly 400,000 people, an environmentally=20
friendly Pittsburgh is eager to serve as host to NCECA members. We are all=20
certain that the city will work to provide us all with a most memorable=20
conference experience. We look forward with excitement to presenting NCECA=20=
in this=20
new venue, and will now begin the task of putting together a professional=20
conference that will reflect the high standards NCECA members have come to=20=

We feel we have discovered an opportunity for NCECA to forge new=20
relationships with a community of dedicated artists in a new geographic loc=
previously unknown to us and we welcome this new destination to head east.

Although we're looking to the future with great excitement, I also want you=
to know that our original commitment to New Orleans has not diminished. In=20
fact, we are resolved to find a heartfelt and creative way to serve the nee=
of this distressed community through the presentation of ceramic art or an=20
equally important project.=20

We ask that all our members join us in embracing Pittsburgh by attending=20
next year's conference. I also ask that you offer your best visions, ideas=20=
thoughts for how NCECA might best serve New Orleans in the very near future=

I want to express my sincere thanks to all of our members who have =20
patiently awaited this outcome, and again, I ask that you each support the=20=
in 2008.=20

Information about the conference theme will be forthcoming and proposals fo=
presentation in Pittsburgh are encouraged. As a result, the posted date for=
proposals of May 1, 2007 is now extended by one week (to May 8) in order to=
help those wishing to make presentations for Pittsburgh in 2008.=20

Questions relating to this deadline and other related proposal presentation=
should be sent to our Programs Director, Joe Molinaro at=20

I look forward to seeing you all in Pittsburgh in March of 2008!=20

Robert Harrison
NCECA President =20
Website update
We are working on updating all 2008 information on the NCECA website. This=20
may take a few days, please check the site regularly for the=20
most up-to-date information. =20
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