2003 ISC Member Juried Exhibition and conference
Hi Sidney --
Great questions! I can understand how there might be some confusion surrounding the ISC juried member exhibition and Figuratively Speaking conference. I'll do my best to clarify...
The ISC@GFS juried member exhibition was conceived over 2 years ago as an open call to all ISC members. The submission guidelines did not specify that the work be figurative -- the only restrictions were that the work be suitable for indoor exhibition and meet minimum safety standards. We received over 500 entries in a wide variety of themes and mediums, and our jurors commented on how excited they were to see such a broadly representative and impressive sampling of what sculptors are doing now.
Last year it became necessary for ISC to postpone our next International Sculpture Conference in Seattle from 2004 to 2005, due to a situation beyond our control with the City of Seattle. Since that would leave a large gap between conferences (last one was Pittsburgh 2001), we looked for an opportunity for ISC to hold a smaller, regional conference in 2003. We assumed that the opening of the ISC@GFS juried member exhibition on July 26 would draw a large number of ISC members, particularly from the Northeast region, so this seemed an ideal time to schedule a conference. The two events -- the member show and the conference -- are related in that both are co-sponsored by ISC and Grounds For Sculpture, both fulfill the ISC's mission to advance the creation and understanding of sculpture, and both offer excellent networking opportunities for our members. We consistently hear from our members that the main reason they attend the conferences is to network, so we sincerely hope that having both the member show and conference on the same weekend will make it both convenient and attractive for our members to attend and achieve maximum networking for their time and money.
The figurative theme was selected by the ISC Board as a topic that would be of interest to a wide range of our members. With limited time available to address any given topic, it made sense to narrow the focus to allow for thorough examination of one topic. By selecting the figurative theme we certainly do not mean any disrespect to non-figurative sculptors, rather this conference is a way of embracing a group and tradition that some feel have been overlooked by ISC in the past. This conference seeks to both celebrate the unique aspects of figurative sculpture as well as put figurative sculpture in context within the broader field. Panel moderators Glenn Harper (editor of Sculpture Magazine) and Tom Moran (NJ State Council on the Arts) both have very broad knowledge of the sculpture field as a whole, and they have invited panelists who can speak to very specific issues surrounding figurative sculpture. Further, I have spoken to quite a few non-figurative sculptors who are planning to attend the conference because they see it as a wonderful opportunity to network with their fellow sculptors and to participate in an exciting dialogue.
We hope that this conference will be only one of many to come that offer an opportunity for extensive exploration of one theme in addition to providing valuable networking opportunities. The ISC Board's conference committee would welcome any suggestions you have for themes for future conferences. This Sculpture Community is moderated and monitored by Board members every day, so I can assure you that your suggestions will be heard and seriously considered.
So, to make a long story short (too late, I know!), I believe the common thread with the ISC's July 2003 events is networking -- members talking to members, members seeing other members' work and members coming together to discuss issues relevant to their own work and that of many sculptors. The figurative theme gives us a great starting point for discussions -- I suspect it will take us many different places.
Thanks for taking the time to write -- please let me know if I can be of further assistance.