Wednesday, May 4, 2011

AIGA DC Farewell

It was a tough decision to make, but I recently decided to roll off the AIGA DC board of directors. I have served on the board for four years, but my history of AIGA started in 2002 when I was a student member at Virginia Commonwealth University with the Richmond chapter. As a student, I served on the student chapter board. After graduation, I moved up to DC and started volunteering at many AIGA DC events, hoping to catch the board's eye and be elected to the DC chapter at the professional level. It took me two years of volunteering until I got on the board.

AIGA describes itself as: AIGA, the professional association for design, stimulates thinking about design, demonstrates the value of design and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their careers. AIGA’s mission is to advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. Founded in 1914, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, and is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational institution.

My first position on the board in 2007 was working with Dian Holton on AIGA 50, our biennial juried exhibition. Here are two blogs where I previously wrote about this position and the event reception at National Postal Museum.

Then a brand new position opened to the board revolving around our Design Continuum Scholarship program, which I held for the next two years. As Continuum Chair, I worked with our Advisory Board, Mira Azarm and Jill Spaeth to create fundraising events and dinners to raise money for the scholarships. Some of these included a summer party, a wine pairing and tasting event at The Art Institute of Washington, a private event with Michael Osborne and more. The position also involved promoting the scholarship to media outlets and schools to let educators and students know about the application process. We also started the Continuum Fund Button Campaign which involved getting original designs from Stanley Hainsworth, The General Design Company, Michael Osborne, David Franek and Nathan Hill for buttons promoting our scholarship opportunities. We have given away five scholarships to young designers.

This past year I attended the Leadership Retreat in Chattanooga, Tennessee and then served as Special Projects Coordinator. AIGA DC will soon be premiering a new blog site. We will let you know when the site is active, but I can tell you Ripe is doing a great job working on designing and programming the site at this very moment. Having a blog where our members can write about design and recap our events is something our community really needed. You can read all my AIGA related blog posts here:

Being on the AIGA DC board is a time in my life I will remember forever. The people on the board are awesome and we make a great team. Through the board experience, I learned to organize projects, write press releases, promote the chapter's activities and plan events. I enjoyed meeting many designers in the area and connecting with the community in ways I never imagined.

Next time you go to an event, look around you and take in the effort of people working the event. Someone organized a speaker to travel from New York to speak to you or a sign language interpreter or set-up the registration table or volunteered as an event photographer. It all adds up to create the magic that you aren't supposed to notice, that should be flawless. Many people do not realize this but it's important to stress that no one on the board gets paid. We are all volunteers who devote our time and energy to advancing the design profession. Not just time, but also expenses. It costs me $13.45 to park and commute to each board or committee meeting (each commute to DC). That may not seem like much, but over a year's span that's at least $200. In addition to commuting to meetings, professional membership is $315. AIGA DC board members are very devoted beyond the need of themselves to providing our membership with great resources and events.

The best thing besides working with the people on the AIGA DC board is the ability of seeing results. All too often in my design jobs, I never know what happened to the work I created. As a cartoonist, I work alone when I draw and it takes months to create something and get feedback. I usually only get to speak to people face-to-face at comic conventions. With AIGA a majority of the projects we have work on get instant feedback. For example, we got to give away scholarships or we know when an event sold out. The results are what keep us going.

I'd like to thank the two past presidents Mira Azarm and Jill Spaeth for their dedicated support and assistance with everything in the past few years. They are truly amazing stars in the world of design. The DC area is much stronger with their positive example of running the chapter.

It is my time to exit and open a slot to a new fresh board member. If you know of someone who has productive energy and time and commitment involved to be on the AIGA DC board, please apply by May 6, 2011. For more information, visit:

I'm excited to use my limited "free time" to take my storytelling and comics work to a new level. I plan on giving more time to my Curls webcomic, other Curls Studio endeavors and taking over the world. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, here I come.


Anonymous said...

Carolyn, love this post! We are going to miss having you on the board (who else is going to discuss comics with me?) but I'm excited to see all your future comics!


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