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Germantown Artists Roundtable looks to add more organizational structure in 2013

Members of the Germantown Artists Roundtable are working towards making the group a more sophisticated operation in the New Year.

While the group has become more organized and active since its inception in late 2011, it still lacks a formal structure or organizational funding.

To remedy that, a volunteer committee of Roundtable participants has been meeting to develop an official structure and governance policy.

The committee includes, among others, Paula Paul, one of the group’s core members, graphic designer Susan Mangan, photographer Gary Reed and Dr. Vivian Nix-Early (co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of BuildaBridge International).

The committee has already developed a mission statement, organizational goals and proposed membership policies. Before organizers reveal them publicly, however, the initiatives will be submitted to the group of about 200 people who have been attending Roundtable meetings throughout the year for feedback.

When this structure is finalized, Paul said the group will begin to pursue grants and other funding opportunities, as well as official partnerships with other local organizations or businesses – some of which have already approached the group’s leaders.

Another major goal is to build the Roundtable’s web presence with an official site that will contain a database searchable either by artist or by genre of work, as well as comprehensive listings of available exhibit and performance spaces.

The Roundtable is looking for help from interested volunteers with experience building websites.The group will resume its regular meetings, open to neighborhood artists or supporters of any kind, on Thursday, Jan. 17.

Throughout 2012, meetings have taken place at First Presbyterian Church on Chelten Avenue, with the volunteer leadership of Rev. Kevin Porter, who will step away from the group at the end of this year.

Members are currently working to determine if Roundable meetings will continue at First Presbyterian, or if another local venue would be better suited to the burgeoning group. The format of the meetings may change as well, with more unstructured time for members to network.

In addition, the Roundtable is planning its first-ever networking party on Feb. 3, from 4 to7 p.m. (location TBA). The event is open to anyone who is interested in connecting with Germantown’s artistic community.Paul encourages every attendee to arrive with someone new to the group, for a BYOB potluck party open to any and all culinary contributions.

In the meantime, the Roundtable can look back on a year of successful events, from Germantown’s first-ever photo walks to movie nights, parties and exhibits at the Germantown Life Enrichment Center and Maplewood Mall’s new iMPeRFeCT Gallery.

For Paul, the best part of 2012 has been seeing the artistic collaborations born of the monthly meetings, where many artists have met new partners for creative endeavors, from sculpture and photography to poetry and playwriting.

“There’s a lot of value in all that,” she said. “We’ve just got to get it going, and it isn’t easy in Germantown.”

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