Conference 10

June 3-5, 2016


Keynote Speaker: Mary Birmingham

We are pleased to announce that Mary Birmingham, curator at the Visual Art Center of New Jersey, will be our Keynote Speaker for Conference 10. Her talk will address such topics at the role of the contemporary curator, the artist/curator relationship, how a curator considers work for an exhibition she is developing, how she looks at gallery exhibitions and art fairs, and much more.

An official bio and photo are forthcoming, so here let me just say that Birmingham, a Boston-area native, has lived and worked in New Jersey for much of her career. She was for nine years in the curatorial department at the Montclair Art Museum before moving to the Hunterdon Art Museum as its curator. In 2010 she moved to the Visual Art Center of New Jersey, an accredited museum, as its first curator. Birmingham is not only highly regarded among her peers as a smart and visionary curator, but among artists as that rara avis who is generous and supportive. 

A question-and answer period will follow Birmingham’s talk, and conferees are encouraged to engage with her.

Right: Birmingham at the opening of Doppler Shift at the Visual Art Center of New Jersey last year


The Saturday Morning Panel: Navigating the Real Art World

“We're all living in the real world of mid-level gallery and artist success, and I don't think it needs to be a big mystery.” 

That's Wendy Haas in response to news about the gallery goings-on in the rarified world of the One Percent. With Haas's down-to-earth comment in mind, I've put together a panel that will address the professional issues that real-world artists want to know more about: the artist dealer relationship (how to develop it, maintain it and, when necessary, repair it); pricing your work; finding or being a mentor; the value of a good crit, and more.

The panel is being designed to appeal to a broad range of conferees, from those who are at the beginning of their career to those who have been practicing professionally. It will include Dan Addington, owner of Addington Gallery in Chicago; Miles Conrad, owner of the Conrad Wilde Gallery in Tucson; Jeff Schaller, a successful studio artist based in Downington, Pennsylvania, who shows and sells internationally; and Wendy Haas, a private dealer who recently moved to Chicago and is learning to work in encaustic after years of representing artists who work in the medium. Pictures, bios, and a request for the questions you want to ask of the panel will be posted soon.


The Postcard Show

Our Conference 10 participants have started talking about Going Postal, so I thought I'd offer some specs for those who will participate for the first time (or who would like a review of what we did in previous years).

Conference 8: Super panorama of the Postcard Show from the inside looking out into the lobby. Photo: Norman Soskel

The Postcard Show, Going Postal, takes place at the Trawler Room, right off the lobby in the Provincetown Inn. We put the postcards up on Thursday so that when you arrive for the Conference on Friday morning, you'll be able to use your break times to pop in to see the show.

The Postcard Show is one of those glorious win/wins. Conferees--as well as friends of the Conference--donate postcards for show and sale. It's an exhibition for the artists donating, and every penny of the sale goes toward scholarships for the following year.

We are so appreciative that your generosity at Conference 9 is allowing 10 artists to attend Conference 10 on scholarship. Each year will see a different group of artists receive the Conference Scholarship Grant, which offers a paid-for entry to the Conference. Additionally, the Scholarship Grant is a legitimate entry for your resume. (Scholarship guidelines will be posted soon.)

Variety of shape, orientation, substrate and material in Going Postal

Deadline for postcards:   TBA (Spring 2016)

Postcard Guidelines
The postcards will not be sent individually but in a padded envelope or other safe container. You therefore have some leeway in how you construct the postcard and in the materials you use to construct it.
Basic parameters
. Size: postcard dimensions of 4x6 inches. Horizontal or vertical orientation is fine. Please keep your cards as close to the 4x6 siz as possible so  they can fit into the plastic sleeves which will be provided
. Paper: People have used 300-lb watercolor paper to paint on, lightweight japanese paper to print with, and everything in between. Other: Some artists have used  4x6" prepared panels, and others have used small stretched canvases or thin boards
. Dimension: Most of the postcards are two-dimensional, but who are we to cramp your style? Relief and three-dimensional works are entirely welcome

. InstallingWe provide the archival poly bags. A small group of enthusiastic volunteers pins each poly bag to the cork walls around the room. (Last year Chrisine covered the cork with white paper to provide the best possible viewing surface. Will she do it again? We'll see . . .)  
. MaterialsMost artists have incorporated wax entirely or in part, but we're open to your particular material expression
. LimitThere is no limit to the number of cards you donate or buy
. Purchase: The postcards are $30 each
. Getting into the room to buy: We'll have specifics closer to the Conference

Wouldn't you like to own one (or more) postcards like this? Many are more like small paintings than postcards


Grant Funding

While Scholarships have yet to be awarded to Conference 10 (a call for applications will be issued in October), we know that many others would appreciate funding to attend. We encourage all conferees to seek out professional development grants. General info about these kinds of grants is noted below, along with a few specifics.

These are grants that might be available in your city, region, state, university or other grant-giving entity to fund, or help fund, your attendance at The Conference. The International Encaustic Conference is widely seen as the foremost event of its kind. Our international presenters—artists, gallerists, curators and critics—have exhibited academic and professional achievement at the highest levels. The professional stance and goals of the Conference, as evidenced by the History of the Encaustic Conference blog, and outlined as a mission statement on the Conference blog (sidebar right), should serve as your informational reference.
Conferees have attended on grants from the states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon, as well as on professional development grants from their universities and/or regions. You might also look into grants that might be offered by organizations in which you are a member.

Here’s an example of professional development funding, notes Cherie Mittenthal: “Massachusetts residents can apply for a Cultural Council grant. Every city and town has money available.” A quick look through the site offers this information: Average grants tend to be modest ($200-$500) and are reimbursement-based, meaning the applicant expends their own money, and if approved for a grant, then submits paperwork for reimbursement. A grand of this type would cover conference entry in whole or in part.
Here's a Professional Development Grant for artists in Washington state, specifically the Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. The Fall cycle has just been awarded and one of our conferees, Elise Wagner, was a recipient. There is a spring cycle. Click for more info.

Here's one for Colorado artists, Jumpstart Awards, sent in by Jane Guthridge, who was a recipient last year. One of the categories is for artists selected to present at a conference; another is "enrollment in professional development workshops . . . to build administrative and business skills" (The deadline was October 15, so keep it in mind for next year).  Jumpstart Awards provide fresh energy to artists and creative entrepreneurs to help stimulate their creative business or organization, whether non-profit or commercial. The end goal is that grantees will achieve tangible business benefits, such as increased revenue, new audiences or improved management practices," says the information on the website.

An example of an organizational grant is the Professional Development Grant from the Surface Design Association, which supports travel to a conference or workshop. And here's a Small Event Grant, also from SDA, to support participation in an exhibition: "Funds may be used for curated, group, and juried exhibitions of SDA members’ works, and for SDA-sponsored lectures, workshops . . ." You must be a member of SDA, and presumably there would be a tie-in with fiber. Info here

Be inventive in seeking funding sources! You might  see about securing funding through Kickstarter or through your own entrepreneurial undertaking, particularly if you have friends willing to support your effort to attend the International Encaustic Conference. What might you offer them in return? 

. A slide talk on encaustic punctuated with pictures from the event
. A work on paper or small painting inspired by one of the demos or workshops you attend
. A chance to come to your studio to select specially made postcards
. A studio visit with a talk about your work
. If you are already teaching and are fluent in the medium, you might offer a demo or workshop to your funders; this might take place in your studio or at an institution that . underwrites your funding.
. Both Paypal and Square allow you to set up accounts into which money can be deposited. Set up a "store" or "popup shop" on your blog or website. Be clear that it's is a special event with special prices. If it's a limited selling time, install a countdown clock on your site (Google "countdown gadgets). If you're gallery represented, offer work of a size or style that none of your dealers sells. With Square you also can take credit card payments at the Hotel Fair with the swipe of a card in a reader that plugs into your smart phone.
. Don't forget the Hotel Fair as a way to make some sales! You might also advertise it. Be inventive with emails and FB announcements leading up to the Conference, and don't be shy about promoting your work at the Conference. As always there will be an info table there.
. Make it happen!

A Few Tips to Help You in Your Application for Funding:
If you are presenting

. You are adding to the discourse of contemporary encaustic, indeed to the discourse of contemporary art in any medium
. Your presentation will help broaden awareness of this contemporary medium with ancient roots
. You are a role model for what is possible
. The International Encaustic Conference is the standard bearer for the medium, and you are a valued part of it

If you are attending
. The International Encaustic Conference is the standard bearer for the medium, giving you the opportunity to learn from and interact with the best practitioners in the field, as well as enjoy opportunities for exhibiting and networking
. With a strong presence of curators, gallerists, critics, art journalists and art publishers from the region, as well as around the country, your work has the potential to be seen in a way that might not otherwise be possible
. The Encaustic Conference offers talks and interactive discussions on professional development
. Additionally, the Conference offers you opportunities to acquire books and supplies, via a Vendor Room, book signings, and a Hotel Fair

If you have information to share about other kinds of funding, please post the info and link  in the Comments section below or let me know and I'll post in here. --J.M.


Traveling to Provincetown

This post remains up to give you a sense of your travel options. It will be updated in spring 2016

Cape Cod, with Provincetown at the tip
Provincetown is located at curled fingers of the flexed arm of Massachusetts. There are many ways to get to P-town. If you're new to the Conference, these are your travel options:

. 20 minutes via Cape Air from Logan International Airport; rental cars are available at the Provincetown Airport, but you must reserve in advance. If you prefer not to drive, the airport is just a mile or so from the Provincetown Inn, and it's a zip of a taxi ride along Province Lands Road. See picture and info below
. 90 minutes via ferry from Boston harbor
. 2.5 hours
driving from Logan Airport in Boston to the Provincetown Inn

. 2.5 hours driving from T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I. (near Providence), with less traffic than from Boston

Cape Air
Rates for 2016 will be announced in spring 2016. Plan on around $200 round trip.

.Note 1: Some conferees have found it cheaper to book their flight directly to Provincetown via Jet Blue, which partners with Cape Air. You'll still change planes at Logan, but  through-booking should offer a better price.
Note 2: You may find that you can get a better deal via, or other travel site, depending on when you plan to travel. 

If you wish to rent a car, Enterprise has cars available--but you must reserve as a limited number are typically available. (Do you need a car? See my comments at the very bottom of this post.)

 20 minutes from Logan Airport in Boston to the Provincetown Airport, which is a mile from the Conference
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A more affordable option

Provincetown Fast Ferry
A more affordable option: the Fast Ferry, which zips from Boston to P-town in 90 minutes. McMillan Wharf, where the ferry docks in P-town, is right in town, about a mile from the Provincetown Inn.
. One way (in 2015) was: $53, round trip: $78
. There will be a Conference code to get this special price 

Don't want to drive? The fast ferry will get you from Boston to Provincetown 

Here's how to get from Logan Airport to the Ferry. I have pulled the info below from the ferry website:

Taxi: "The quickest way to get to the ferry. Simply ask the taxi driver who picks you up at your terminal to take you to World Trade Center, lower level, on Seaport Blvd. You will be taken on a quick 5-10 minute ride through Boston's Ted Williams tunnel directly to our pier at World Trade Center. Our ships depart from the West side (the city side) of the pier. The cab fare is approximately $15 without gratuity." (JM's suggestion: You've come this far, take the taxi. It's faster and easier than anything else.)

Silver Line: "An MBTA articulated bus makes the rounds of all airport terminals every 15 minutes for an eight-minute trip through a dedicated tunnel to the World Trade Center stop, one block inland from our dock. Fares are approximately $1.50 per passenger. Total time from your airport terminal curb to our dock, once aboard the bus, is approximately 14 minutes."

Water Taxi: "An airport water transportation bus, clearly marked Water Transportation, circles all of the airport's terminals. The bus will order a City Water Taxi for you and deliver you to the water taxi. The water taxi ride from Logan Airport to the Provincetown boat takes 7 minutes. Two boat companies leave from this terminal: City Water Taxi, and Rowes Wharf Water Taxi, . The water taxi fare is approximately $10.00 per person.

. . . . . . . . . .

Orienting you to your travel options to the Provincetown Inn

. The Inn is at the very end of Commercial Street, at the left side of the map above. Look for the lighthouse icon with the arrow that says "Wood End." Next to it is "First Pilgrim Park." That's where the Inn is located. You will be staying exactly where the Pilgrims first landed in the New World! (Talk about making a pilgrimmage to Provincetown.)

. By Fast Ferry: McMillan Wharf, where the ferry arrives, is just above the "E" in PROVINCETOWN. There are always taxis and pedicabs at the wharf to meet arriving passengers. It's about a mile from the Inn

. Cape Air: Look for the airplane icon at the top of the map, just under the second "T" in ATLANTIC OCEAN. The Inn is a two-minute taxi ride from the airport

. Thinking of renting a car in P-Town? Enterprise in the franchise, and you have to reserve. You'd pick up the car at the airport. But unless you are planning to drive around the Cape, it's actually cheaper and far more convenient to take a taxi when you need one and walk the rest of the time. Besides, with so much taking place at the Inn, your car will sit in the parking lot. A car will come in handy if you are taking workshops at Castle Hill, but we can work with you for Pre- and Post-Conference to hook up folks with cars to those who need a ride. 



About Provincetown

I'll update this post soon
Meanwhile check out Laura Shabbott's column on, What's New on Commercial Street?

There's no other place quite like P-town. It's the country's oldest continuous art colony, an active fishing village, and a gay mecca. Where else can you spend the evening wandering the art galleries, tuck into fried clams or a lobsta dinnah, and then bump into three or four Chers and a gaggle of Gagas on your walk home?

A glimpse of Provincetown architecture by Chris Seufert (from the Internet)

Once you’re in P-town, everything is within a 10-20 minute walking distance, with the ocean, shops, galleries and quirky New England architecture all along the way. If you prefer to drive from the Inn to the center of town, there's (for-a-fee) parking on McMillan Wharf and at Duarte's lot off of Bradford. If you prefer to take a taxi or pedicab, they'll be waiting at the front door of the Inn. If you plan to stay a few extra days (stay, stay!) there's also whale watching, bike rentals, National Park Service bike trails, dune rides, and that big sandy thing--yeah, the beach.

Some reading
. Wikipedia has a decent history of Provincetown, with pictures, stats and links. Did you know that the Pilgrims landed first in P-town? And that they landed pretty much on the site of The Provincetown Inn, where The Encaustic Confterence takes place?

. Michael Cunningham's literary walkabout, Land's End , offers an insider's view of the idiosyncratic town at the tip of the tip of Cape Cod. "It is the only small town I know of where those who live unconventionally seem to outnumber those who live within the prescribed bonds of home and licensed marriage, respectable job, and biological children," says Cunningham, author of the Pulitzer-winning The Hours. (JM's suggestion: read it before you arrive, and then again once you've spent time there.)

. The Provincetown Gallery Guide online is an 80-page listing, with pictures and info, of the huge number of galleries in town. The guide that's up now is from 2010, but that should be enough to at least give you a sense of the abundance of offerings. (Use the magnifying glass icon to enlarge the pages.)

. Visit the Arts and Culture guide on The Provincetown Tourist Office website

. Once you've arrived, the Now Voyager Bookstore in town carries a selection of titles on Provincetown and Cape Cod history and architecture, as well as those by local and regional authors, which may be unavailable elsewhere. There's no website, but it's located at 357 Commercial Street, not far from the Kobalt Gallery.

The famed Provincetown light, with a view of the working harbor
(Click pic to see it larger) JM photo
And click here for Wikipedia's entry on Provincetown Harbor

The beach in town. Many restaurants have decks overlooking the water; you can just see one in at the left side of this picture

Some Eating
The many sit-down restaurants range in price from reasonable to pricy. The Restaurant Guide offers a list of offerings, with menus and prices. (Remember, The Conference is providing lunch on Saturday and Sunday, and Inn guests get a continental breakfast.)  There's also a listing for coffeeshops, pizza and other quick food (no McD's or BK here).  If you have a favorite restaurant, coffeeshop or pizza place, why not put it in the Comments section.

Lobstah? Ya want lobstah? This is crustacean central--great fried clams, too--and while it looks small, it's not. Two floors of dining rooms extend all the way back to the water

I'm not sure what the Portuguese word for fried dough is, but it's boa--good. Sure, you'll hate yourself later. Have some pizza with broccoli and feel virtuous. . .

Best pizza in P-town (image from the Internet)

 This group of eateries, right next to Town Hall, covers all the bases

More eats. Don't forget your Lipitor. But, this cluster comes with a weight-control option: Rent a bike and ride off the calories!

Local Color
I'm not sure, but beige and tweed may actually be outlawed here (just kidding). Nothing is too unusual for Commercial Street, though.

Just your average ad for a pedicab

A violin concert outside the (now newly refurbished) library

Talk about a beehive. This is Lucy Belle (image from the Internet)

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