Volume 1, Number 1, Feb. 1979, p.1

Dear W.A.A.C. Members

by James L. Greaves, Victoria S. Blyth, and Denise Domergue

Dear W.A.A.C. Members:

Since their election, your officers have held several meetings and contacted many individuals regarding the future of W.A.A.C. While we have developed several concrete ideas for future meetings and projects which could be meaningful for everyone, we believe we must first confront the serious problems of a W.A.A.C. identity and purpose. Is the organization justified?

Initially the W.A.A.C. was conceived as a group in and through which conservators scattered over the broad Western geographical area could communicate, solve common problems, and share experiences without depending on national organizations centered in the East. It was intended that the W.A.A.C. encourage the development of more localized conservation groups, patterned after the then already successful Bay Area Art Conservation Guild, while retaining a useful position on a broader level. The untimely death of David Rinne, Conservator of the Getty Museum, stalled the formation of the planned Los Angeles area group so that only today, with the imminent formation of such a group, may the original concept be properly reviewed.

The past few years the W.A.A.C. has provided some excellent meetings due to the efforts of a limited number of individuals, but has lacked the broad-based active support required to provide timely information and conduct larger organizational projects. It can be argued that the vitality of local organizations such as the B.A.A.C.G., which is able to provide good programs and interaction on a more practical geographical level, combined with the new responsiveness and breadth of the A.I.C. Newsletter, both lessen the need for a W.A.A.C. We must decide whether or not W.A.A.C. is too overextended geographically to function in a meaningful way.

There has been a misconception by some that W.A.A.C. is a Southern California organization which doesn't do much. This is not true, the W.A.A.C. is a Greater Western Association which doesn't do very much. The W.A.A.C. was not designed as a local Southern California group, therefore, it cannot provide special programs or services specifically to members in that region without a change in the organization itself. Conversely, it cannot succeed on a broad level without meaningful cooperation and support from each region.

We believe that an active W.A.A.C. would be able to provide for the needs of unorganized conservators in the West as well as supplement and/or coordinate activities between organized local groups. Your officers have and are willing to work for this purpose. We have also talked with many founding members and representatives of major geographical areas and have determined that almost everyone would rather see the W.A.A.C. itself become a more localized group, (i.e., Southern California) than have it wither from lack of participation on the broader level. Reluctantly we must accept the possibility that present realities may require this more pragmatic action of reducing the scope and geographical area of organization.

Accordingly your officers have decided to force the issue of the future of W.A.A.C.: whether or not to officially reorganize he W.A.A.C. on a more restricted level. We solicit your opinions, critical suggestions and especially ideas in support of maintaining a broadbased W.A.A.C. Please forward them to us as soon as possible so that we may make a fair, well-founded presentation at our next annual meeting in mid-April. While we expect to provide some peripheral professional activities, we are designating this as a strictly organizational meeting. Your participation, or lack of it, will be critical in determining the future of W.A.A.C.


James L. Greaves
Victoria S. Blyth
Denise Domergue

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