This blog highlights the talents of this years symposium presenters. For more information about attending this years symposium, please see

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Looking Into the Crystal Ball

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!

Neely Tomkins,
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.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Welcome back to the Yuma Symposium Blog!  Our names are Teresa Burgher and Autumn Brown, and we will be the co-hosting the blog for the next six months.

We can’t believe it is only 170 days till we meet again at Lute’s Casino for the 35th Yuma Symposium?!  Time really does fly when you are having fun!

Since last February we both have stayed busy enjoying life, and from the reports we get, others have been having a pretty good time too.

Teresa joined Neely and George in late May in Charleston SC, for a terrific five days of hanging out, ogling the architecture, and checking out the extraordinary cuisine.  They enjoyed some of the opening events of the Spoleto festival and walks in the best neighborhoods of America during the evenings. Since then she has had lots of time to write, garden, and spend time in the pool with the grandkids.
Teresa and Neely in Charleston SC
Autumn finished up a fabulous spring semester teaching metalsmithing at Pitt Community College in Greenville, NC.  She then had a few weeks off to do studio work and travel with family before moving north to Interlochen, MI for her fourth season as summer metals faculty for Interlochen Center for the Arts.  She is now in Athens, GA and is looking forward to taking the fall off from teaching in order to focus on some personal work.

Autumn's metals class at ICA
Neely and George retreated from the heat to much cooler Michigan. Ken Bova has kept in touch with us all posting one stunning picture after another from Montana and an awesome album from his Santa Cruz Teaching Adventure with Angela Gleason.  Keith Lewis is in Argentina and Jane Gregorius has just returned from Canada.  John Grant is on the road from coast to coast and he has shared a photo and rave reviews from his stay with Gary Greenberg during his kiln firing in Pennsylvania.  Plus, Gary visited Autumn in Greenville, NC where he did a fantastic demo on foil firing!!

Ken's Santa Cruz Teaching Adventure
Greeny in Greenville, NC

Greenie;s livingroom by John Grant
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. People have moved, traveled, made wonderful art, had fabulous shows, taught amazing classes, and welcomed new members to their families. It has been a heck of a summer!

Now we are back to our routines, for the most part, and many of us are planning the nuts and bolts of the next, most fabulous Yuma Symposium. This year we are thrilled to feature a great lineup of presenters:  Kim Winkle, Lanny Berger, Willem Volkersz, Sara Mast, Julia Harrison, Chip Thomas, Kat Cole, Scott Kolbo, Robin Lasser, Stephen Robinson, Rocky Lewycky, and Alison Carey.

They will be joining a dozen Yuma regulars every week on this blog to share a bit of what is happening, what is up and coming, and what they hope will be when we all meet again on February 20, 2014.

Check out the blog on Sunday evenings for new posts! Next post, Teresa will share some of her prized messages from one of her favorite Yuma alumni and board members, John Grant.  Drop by right here for “On the Road, Coast to Coast"

See you in Yuma!

Teresa Burgher
Christiana, TN
Autumn Brown
Greenville, NC