September 2001 Volume 23 Number 3

President's Letter

Mark Harnly

As I write this letter the WAAC Board is in the busy, final three-week stretch before our Annual Meeting at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Naturally some of what I have to say concerns the meeting, the timing of which coincides with the sending of this newsletter. Please bear with me if some of what you read is yesterday's news. The WAAC Board and numerous other members have worked very hard to ensure a successful meeting. They all deserve our gratitude. I would especially like to thank all of the speakers for their work for this meeting. They deserve extra credit for preparing their talks during these past painful weeks when it was often difficult to be productive.

The slate of speakers for the Annual Meeting this year came together quite easily from submissions by the membership. We have a schedule of talks that range across the full spectrum of conservation disciplines. Happily, a special session on the conservation of mural paintings evolved on its own with the coincidental submission of several talks in this area. Along with the tour of the recently reopened Watts Towers and the workshop on Lasers in Conservation, I hope the meeting will have something meaningful for all who attend.

Because this is the last letter I am writing as President, I cannot pass up the opportunity to acknowledge the hard-working WAAC Board. I have been lucky to serve with an excellent group. I am very grateful to the Members At Large, Beverly Perkins, Susanne Friend, Camilla Van Vooren, and Holly Anderson for all of their help, especially in planning this year's meeting. Big thanks also to Secretary Teruko Burrell. She works one office away from me so I know firsthand the huge amount of work she has done to make this year's meeting a success. I also have to thank Treasurer Chris Stavroudis and Newsletter Editor Carolyn Tallent for their ongoing hard work. The continuity they provide to the Board is invaluable to the entire organization of WAAC. The jobs of the rest of the Board members would be much harder without them.

Finally, J. Claire Dean has done a great job as Vice President. Claire has already begun to put a lot of effort into planning the 2002 annual meeting. Along with Nominating Committee Members Rosamund Westmoreland and Debra Evans, Claire also assembled a fine, large slate of candidates for the election of next year's Board. The new Board members will be announced at the Annual Meeting. I hope all of those not elected this year will run again. As President I cannot vote in the election—my vote is held in reserve to break ties if they arise. This year, I was happy I did not have to choose among the great people listed on the ballot.

Planning the annual meeting is almost always the central project for any WAAC President. This past year I have been fortunate enough to participate in other projects, including facilitating workshops for the WAAC membership. WAAC was able to sponsor two workshops, The Identification of Digital Prints taught by Martin Juergens at the Getty Museum, and Lasers in Conservation taught by Meg Abraham and organized by Odile Madden at the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art. Both workshops had the mixed blessing of receiving many more applications than could be accommodated. While this assured an adequate number of participants, it is always unfortuate when all those interested cannot attend. The enthusiastic response reinforces my belief that mid-career education is vital to our profession. I am happy that WAAC provides support in this area, and I hope it continues to do so. I would encourage those interested in sponsoring such a workshop to contact anyone on the Board for information.

Finally, I cannot finish this letter without addressing what is uppermost in my own and everyone's mind. The tragic events on September 11 have affected us all, and their full impact is not yet known. I would like to echo the sentiments of Michael Kimmelman in his article The Solace in Sharing the Beauty of Great Art and Music for the Sept. 17 New York Times. He eloquently discussed the healing power of art and its importance in times like these. Our contribution to this as conservators is significant and something in which we can take pride.

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