Level of difficulty: Intermediate
Cost to participate: None (moderate cost to purchase book)
Project: A book of artwork by members of the Class of 1970, published as part of its 40th Reunion in 2010. Reunion activities included a book signing event involving the artists.
Lead time: 10 weeks
Date of event: June 2010
2 key volunteers – 250 hours by lead volunteer, 20 hours by another
17 class artist volunteers
Results: 17 class artists offered work for inclusion in book, 260 reunion attendees could see their physical work, remaining 700 class members could see online
Why a success? About half of the artists in the Class participated, although relatively few members of the Class are in fact artists. The event did not cost the Class or AYA anything, but gave recognition, reinforcement, and camaraderie to a small group that had been overlooked. The event helped promote a Class-wide feeling of inclusion because it was combined with numerous other programming initiatives focusing on various different Class sub-groups (musicians, anglers, bicyclists, fencers, sailors, rowers, martial artists). The breadth and depth of these multiple initiatives won the AYA Class Programming award in 2010.
Details: The book consisted of an 88 page, high quality, glossy print, coffee-table style art book, published online using a print-on-demand publisher, Blurb.com. There was no upfront cost and no cost to the Class. A hard copy of the book was priced at $52.95 (plus shipping) to cover costs. Free online viewing was available through Blurb.com and also via pdf at the Class website: see for example http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1356975 . Approximately 27 books were sold.
The book was available a month prior to reunion. From start to finish, it took only 10 weeks to produce (10 intensive weeks). A book signing get-together was held at the reunion itself.
Resources needed: Most of the work was done by two class members: the lead artist and organizer put in about 250 hours of work, including contacting artists, laying out the book, and posting it online; the Reunion Chair put in an additional 20 hours of more general organizing and planning. Layout was done using InDesign software, but an amateur/prosumer could use the tools provided by Blurb.com. AYA provided names and addresses of classmates in the arts, but nothing else.
Metrics: 17 artists contributed to the book. About 10 of them attended the reunion and the book signing.
The Class consisted of approximately 934 living alumni. AYA had email addresses for approximately 680 of them. Approximately 260 classmates attended the 40th Reunion, many bringing spouses. Visual artists (as a group) had not been featured at previous reunions.
AYA records indicated that 34 members of the Class majored in Art or identified their vocation as artist. (Included were painters, sculptors, architects, photographers, and film makers, but not musicians. Other reunion events focused on musicians.) While 2 of the artists have been active in reunions and Class projects, most have not — and many had not attended a reunion in years. (One of the artists active in past reunions has national name recognition; the others do not.)
Invitations to participate were sent by email to all 34 known visual artists. Each artist was asked to submit up to 6 pictures of artwork in the form of high resolution electronic image files. Announcements of the event/project were included in general reunion mailings to the entire Class so that artists “unknown” (as such) to AYA could participate.
Possible improvements: Optimize the layout for web, e-book and computer viewing, rather than for hard copy.