Get involved in the Art Center

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By John Werenko

The Art Center at Fuller Lodge (ACFL) is an independent nonprofit organization, and its articles of incorporation clearly describe the center’s three fold mission, “encouraging high standards of performance among the artists and craftsmen of Northern New Mexico. . . providing art-related educational services . . . and exhibit time for local groups, organizations and individuals.”


The Board of Directors, volunteers and staff of the Art Center have carried out this mission for nearly 40 years through the support of private and public organizations as well as from the Los Alamos County and its people.

Membership is another way in which the Art Center has been able to adhere to its mission. Membership keeps a nonprofit organization vital. In the case of the Art Center, it provides artists and craftsmen who exhibit and sell their creations and also provides much needed volunteers for service at the front sales desk or on the Board of Directors. Many of the instructors who teach in the Art Center education program come from the membership.

In the summer of 2008, the ACFL Board voted unanimously to initiate a Biennial Membership Drive, Fundraiser and Donor Recognition. From January through April 2009, special membership forms were sent to all residents in the county. The long-range goal is to increase membership from the current 2 percent of the local population to 5 percent over the next six years. This effort would represent three biennial drives. The initial membership drive is 2009-2010 and the first year of that drive included a raffle and donor recognition event that culminated in a gourmet dessert social held in Fuller Lodge on April 11, 2009.

During January this year, an appeal will made be made again to the residents of Los Alamos to renew or to become  new members. Mailings will go to every household within the county during the month. The alternate year drive does not include the raffle or donor recognition event; that will occur in 2011 when the Art Center kicks off its second biennial membership drive.

The most asked questions heard regarding the center’s appeal for new members are, “Isn’t the Art Center for artists only?” “Why should I become a member of the Art Center? What do I get for my membership? Will I be constantly asked to donate money or my time?”

The Art Center is not just for practicing artists. It is for all those who love and appreciate the visual arts. It is also for anyone looking for a place to socialize and contribute to the community that continuously supports the arts and artists. In other words, the Art Center is for everyone.

There are a number of reasons for becoming a member of the Art Center, apart from the material benefits one receives.

Members will help contribute to an historic organization with origins that began at the end of World War II and members will help to ensure the continuation of the Art Center far into the future.

Individuals will also discover that the Art Center is a place to make friends, share common cultural interests and find untapped creative resources within oneself.

There are obviously                    extrinsic reasons for becoming a member in addition to the intrinsic ones just described.

A few are: personal invitations to openings, events, lectures and demonstrations, discounts on purchases in the Gallery Shop and on tuition for enrichment art classes, consignment of arts and crafts work for sale in the eight exhibitions held annually or year round in the Gallery Shop, a subscription to a leading art magazine, tickets to the Santa Fe Opera or the Los Alamos Concert Series, Museum of New Mexico membership, donor recognition on the “Wall of Friends,” upper level membership in the form of corporate, individual or family, special rates for seniors and students.

The Art Center has several membership levels each with different benefits.

There is no pressure to donate or give beyond the membership fee. People are invited, however, to help support the center in other ways such as volunteering at the front desk, teaching or just acting as an ambassador of good will to the community and the region on behalf of the Art Center.

As a member of the Art Center, people are considered a stakeholder and not a stockholder as occurs in the for-profit business world.

As Thomas Wolf states in his book “Managing a Nonprofit Organization,” “There can be no owners in a nonprofit organization because such an entity is intended to serve a broad public purpose . . . that is not to say that nonprofit organizations cannot make money . . . they can and do make money    . . . but the money taken in must be directed toward the public purpose for which the organization was set up or held in reserve.”

This is known in legal parlance as the “Duty of Care.” Dues paying members of the Art Center have a stake in the organization and its future.

Some of the programs in which you will own a stake as a member: Summer Art Camp for Children and Youth, Access Art Classes for the Developmentally Disabled, two Arts and Crafts Fairs a year, an open Ceramic Studio, year round adult art education classes and workshops, an Affordable Art Sale during the winter holiday season and an on going series of exhibitions of art work by artists from all over Northern New Mexico and Los Alamos.  

It is simple and easy to become a member of the Art Center. There are several ways: respond to our mailer when you receive it during the month of January, go to www.artfulnm.org or call the Art Center at 505-662-9331.

The Art Center is open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.