Given that the day began with my husband and I waking before even our small children and heading out to the JetBlue terminal at JFK to catch different flights, it might make sense for me to recount in a backward fashion. An informal end to our highly structured day just finished at JoJo’s Pittsford Pub over nicely salted French fries, with some of our board members and staff members partaking.
Prior to that our group of about 20 checked in to our hotel (at around 6 pm) and barely managed to get out to our reception on time. Held at the gracious home of a noted philanthropist in arts & letters, it was a terrific event where we heard a brief welcome from a state senator who helped reinstate the Council’s line in the NYS budget. A good number of our program partners were present and the Congress representative’s district leader. It can be hard to get a good showing at an “away” event like this so the amazing crowd was a testament to our Rochester board members, the host, and the many calls we made to follow up on our emailed (Paperless Post) invitation.
The chief part of our day though was our touring of four very different organizations that have, in recent years, received grants from or run programs of the Council. We began at the Susan B. Anthony House, her home and suffrage HQ for the last 40 years of her life. Truly this place was an inspiration! Next tour was of WXXI radio & TV, where the CEO & staff gave us a glimpse of how the magic happens–shows in production, studios, even the networked server space. Humanities-based talk shows and cultural offerings are key to the station’s identity. The Baobab Cultural Center was another stop, a rather new presenting organization that won several Council grants in a row. Here our funding was key to their ability to put on talks, films, and panel-based exhibitions on aspects of the African diaspora & the American experience. Finally, a breakneck tour through the galleries of the wonderful Memorial Art Gallery. There I got to meet one of the people I’d invited to the reception who had a conflict, but still wanted to see what we were up to.
Lunch was at a restaurant whose proprietor has been supportive of our work. We invited about 16 program partners such as our Speakers in the humanities, discussion facilitators, and program coordinators to sit down with our members & staff to talk about what they’ve learned and what they’d like to do next
Because of the sheer difficulty of gathering a group of about 20 independent souls onto and off a shuttle bus for a day, you have to imagine us as rather late to most of these events. It was very hard to leave any of them!
My tasks, having helped set this day in motion, were mostly to listen, learn, and say many kinds of thanks. A list of names and set of business cards will help with follow-up next Monday.
Tomorrow: board meeting!