NCECA has worked with informed contacts to find achievable solutions to operating a large gathering at this time, but the levels of risk to our conference attendees and their communities is simply too high for our comfort level. Our passionate participants whether they travel far and wide or live close to the event have made NCECA what it is today and we remain humbled by the respect and devotion of this field. 

Having few reliable examples of our local, national, international responses to this unprecedented health event, NCECA’s capacity to manage the challenges presented in gathering thousands in Richmond, required us to consider potentially serious concerns about your welfare. It is not possible to know how conditions might shift over the days between now and the date on which the conference was to begin. Data- and science-driven approaches to understanding the  risks associated with hosting a multi-day event of thousands of people at this time, point to inherent risks. NCECA determined that cancellation would be the most effective way to mitigate potential danger not only to the Greater Richmond, national, and worldwide ceramic art communities, but also to vulnerable populations, including but not limited to older and immune-compromised individuals who may wish to participate in the conference or be within our spheres of contact when we return to our homes, studios, and schools.

We’ve received dozens of messages and been affected by the rapidly evolving and complicated issues surrounding the emergence of COVID-19. Our schools are preparing for alternate ways of delivering content, events and businesses we patronize are shifting their operations or preparing for remote work and virtual teams. Many of us are concerned about how the decisions we make related to travel, life, and work could put our loved ones at risk. We are washing our hands and making sure there is rice in the cupboard. Some of the conversations we are having now are unprecedented, and it’s hard to know when we will have a clearer picture of the future. 

The sense of absence–of a conference and exhibitions not realized, insightful moments not experienced, new friendships not formed, and old ones not physically reconnected in Richmond this March–is acute with impact. Please know that we share this sense of loss with you. 

The days ahead for this organization will be filled with challenges as a result of this decision. NCECA can sustain this, and your continued support will be necessary in unprecedented ways. Also, necessary will be additional communications, business, and refund requests to fulfill. We ask that everyone affected by this decision act with patience and kindness while we organize this effort. Please click on the expanding links below to learn more about NCECA’s plans and efforts to work with you in this difficult time.

Our established systems for conference registration, membership, and other transactions occur within an association management system. Some find this system difficult to operate. In order to make the process ahead more user friendly, we have created a new email address Richmond2020@nceca.net. We ask that all of you who have registered for the conference as individuals to send a message. Please include your name and request one of the following options:

  1. Donate the amount paid for your 2020 conference registration to NCECA. We will arrange for you to get the receipt necessary for tax purposes.
  2. Carry over the conference registration fee for the 2020 conference to next year’s NCECA conference. The price of this year’s pass will cover the cost of our next conference, even if the price of the conference increases. Doing so will help us get through the potentially tough cash flow problems that we will face over the next year.
  3. Request a refund. We understand that some members attend the conference on grants that only apply to this conference, and some simply can’t afford to leave that money unused for the next year. We will not hold anyone to the previous deadline for cancellation. 
  4. Make a financial donation. Any amount is helpful! It will immediately be put to good use.
 

Companies, organizations, galleries, nonprofits, and schools that have registered for the Resource Hall as exhibitors. Our established systems for exhibitor fees, conference registration, membership, and other transactions occur within an association management system. Some find this system difficult to operate. In order to make the process ahead easier for all involved, please send an email to kate@nceca.net  and request one of the following options.

Please note, there is no need to send representative registration cancellation emails as Kate Vorhaus, NCECA Resource Hall Coordinator will take care of cancelling all booth/table/galleries representative registrations. If you have purchased ADDitional representative passes, those may be refunded as well, retained for next year, or the funds may be donated.

  1. Donate all or a portion of the amount paid for your 2020 exhibitor space/s to NCECA. We will arrange for you to get the receipt necessary for tax purposes. We understand that some exhibitors attend the conference with funds that only apply to this conference or come from restricted funding, so this option may not be feasible.
  2. Carry over the exhibitor fee for the 2020 conference to next year’s NCECA conference. The price of this year’s space/s will cover the cost of our next conference, even if the price of the exhibitor space/s increases. Doing so will help us get through the potentially tough cash flow problems that we will face over the next year.
  3. Request a refund. Previous deadlines and fees for the cancellation of exhibitor space have been removed.
  4. Make a financial donation. Any amount is helpful! It will immediately be put to good use.

NCECA recognizes the centrality of our Resource Hall exhibitors in the life of the conference and our organizational culture. We ask that everyone affected by this decision act with patience and kindness while we organize this effort.

We have received messages from some of you with offers to support NCECA through this difficult time with ideas to generate revenues while connecting people to the knowledge, resources, and opportunities they need to pursue and advance their interests in ceramic art. 

NCECA anticipates establishing a task force to work on some of these ideas and work toward implementable options in the weeks and months ahead. Please contact Communications Director Tony Wise communications@nceca.net to express your interest and share initial concepts.

 

NCECA had fully designed and sent to print a remarkable Annual Journal with abstracts that you shared with us. While covers for that publication had been printed, we have been able to stop the presses out of environmental and ecological concern. NCECA is prepared to share this content digitally, however we are also open to exploring additional options. One is that we may wish to work with you to forward content into next year’s conference. Another option might be to work towards delivery of certain content online. These potential solutions deserve more time and effort to develop. A member of NCECA’s leadership team will be reaching out to you in the coming days and weeks to discuss these options. We may also be forming a task force to develop online content options as the present crisis is making these kinds of resources urgently needed. 

We know that many of you may already have expertise and experience with crafting and disseminating online content and we want you to be part of the strategies moving forward. A member of NCECA’s leadership team will be contacting you soon to learn about your interest and initial concepts you might wish to share.

 

Many exhibitions have opened or are preparing to open in the Greater Richmond Region. Also, moving forward without the conference taking place will be the planned NCECA Annual exhibition and NCECA Student Juried Exhibition. We encourage the many of you based in the Greater Richmond Region to visit these exhibitions and support the artists, by viewing, sharing comments, and collecting their work if possible. NCECA is keenly aware of the amount of work and expense you have incurred in preparing work for exhibitions. Some exhibitions are already open in Richmond and others of you are working with venues to realize exhibitions although the conference will not be taking place. NCECA had promoted exhibitions to the Richmond community through its app, and a linked digital ad campaign arranged with a regional arts and culture website. We have also responded to interview questions and provided images to a Richmond region arts and culture writer. Whether you decide to cancel or move forward with your exhibition, please send an email to tammy@nceca.net so that we can make efforts to update our 2020 NCECA app. We are considering creation of a video tour of exhibitions that were planned and implemented surrounding the hoped for but absent conference. We will also develop communications that encourage people in the region to visit your exhibitions that move forward.