Looking into the Crystal Ball
The Yuma Symposium will celebrate 35 years this coming February! Doesn’t seem like it’s been going that long, until you look back through the “Yuma Symposium thirty years after” book. We all look so young!!! What happened?
Well, the event has survived: grown, had its ups and downs and grown again.
The whole event has changed somewhat over the years. It started out in the 70’s, before we started counting as weekend workshops at Arizona Western College for the students: very informal, local, funky, informative and small, with no alcohol on campus. It has morphed into what we have today, a little more formal, larger, national, more informative, very diverse and still kinda loose and funky.
So what is the future of the symposium, we ask? Those thoughts that have been in those word bubbles hovering above our heads. They have finally been spoken…..a few years ago and this year we are actually thinking seriously about this whole idea. Don’t want to rush into anything.
So, why is this thing such a success? I look around on Thursday evening during participant orientation at the Yuma Theatre and can’t help but wonder, “ What is it that brings so many here? They spend a lot of money, take time off from teaching or other jobs, some year after year. I’m so close to it, I don’t have the perspective that most participants have. I always love it when you come up to me and express why you make time to come each year.
I can tell you that I have the most professional, passionate people to work with. Most are out-of- towners and many have been involved from the very early days. I’ve served on a number of non-profit boards and the symposium crowd is the very best. In fact, I brag about you. Everyone steps up when needed, is good at what they volunteer to do and do what they say they will do. I believe Ben Mitchell, who wrote the forward for our 30th anniversary book, stated it very well. He used the words egalitarian, democratic, open, generous and freewheeling.
I would like to explore this idea of why the symposium is so unique and how it can continue to be, at its essence, the event that is so important to so many wonderful people. Lynda Watson was quoted as saying, “It’s the best, most conversant group of artists sharing their work, ideas, fun and supporting each other”.
This is where you come in. It’s this atmosphere that needs to be preserved. The fact that it’s for artists, by artists makes it different, along with the multi-disciplinary format, but I’d really love to hear your thoughts about why you support the symposium and what would be important to consider for the future.
I hope to maybe hear your thoughts sometime soon. See you in February!
Head of Cheerleading for Yuma Symposium
Food is big part of symposium. Here's John Copp (breakfast coordinator) Marlene True (2010 presenter in metals) along with Pete Jagoda (Artistic Director) listening to John Grant tell a story and make an apple tart in the 78 W 2nd St. kitchen.