Dear Colleagues,

As we greet the fall season, UFVA prepares to welcome our new officers and board members and bid farewell to those who are rotating off. Please join me in thanking the outgoing officers and members (Jen Proctor, Tom Sanny, Ruth B. Goldman, and Vaun Monroe), commending those who are returning in new positions (Bart Weiss, Editorial VP and Heather Addison, Treasurer), and welcoming those who are new to the board, Marc May, Margaret Cardillo, Chrissy Guest, and Abbey Hoekzema.

I’m grateful to Conference VP Wenhwa Ts’ao and outgoing Editorial VP Konstantia Kontaxis for meeting the challenges posed by the virtual conference with exceptional grace. I extend a special thank you to Laura Vazquez, who in her role as President over the past two years, has steadily guided the organization through many changes, challenges, and triumphs.

I step into the position of President with deep humility and tremendous enthusiasm. In a way, we are taking this first step into the future together, as this association is poised to vote on two matters that will help define our course: a potential name change and a series of proposed Bylaw changes.

All members will receive an email containing both ballots shortly. I encourage all members to participate. Please let me or any board member know if you have questions about either ballot. Regarding the name change, whatever the outcome, I believe this vote will propel us forward with a renewed sense of mission.

As our experiences together at the 2020 Conference made evident, these are times of historic change and incredible disruption. We are being affected by the senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the more recent fatal shootings of Black people and People of Color at the hands of police. We bear witness to the additional loss of life in the global pandemic, which brings to the fore longstanding economic, racial, and health inequities. We recognize too that educational institutions are in flux and crisis. Many educators are making rapid transitions to virtual or hybrid teaching, even as they face the prospect of hiring freezes, layoffs, or precariousness in employment.

I hope that you see UFVA as a vital source of collectivity at this time. This is my vision for the association: Let us work together to ensure this is a welcoming, inclusive, diverse association that values belonging, equity, and collaboration. Let this be the first stop for networking, mentoring, career and jobs support, technical training, mini-screenings, resources, brainstorming, and formal and informal meetups. Let us come together to create, analyze, conceptualize, sustain, critique, and transform visual, audio, and media arts. Let us be open to honest, constructive criticism when mistakes have been made and change is called for.

UFVA is both rich in history and more relevant than ever. If there are ways that the other board members or I can better serve you, or if you have ideas, time, or service to contribute, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours truly,