we near the Thanksgiving holidays, I wanted to update you on a few
things. Whenever I visit branches, the first question is, "What is the latest on Pen Arts?"
The Latest On Pen Arts
BOD (Board of Directors) met in October. We all are very pleased that
there is an open dialogue between National and our members. We greatly
value your feedback and concerns as we weigh the options before us.
me be very clear. The issue of Pen Arts is not an easy one. We have
members who believe we should sell the building and re-structure our
financial foundation in order to provide more member services. With a
decrease in members and finances and an increase in expenses to maintain
our building, selling to some members is a "no brainer." On the other
hand, we have other members for whom Pen Arts represents a heritage we
were given to steward. To turn our back on it is difficult for them to
consider. The board is divided on the issue. We have not had a formal
vote to see if 2/3 of the board would vote to sell the building.
Why not, you may ask? Frankly, the timing has not been right. Here's why...
Several interesting developments presented themselves relative to the Pen Arts issue:
OUR 14-YEAR TENANT RETIRED AND VACATED HIS OFFICE Losing
Architect Michael Holt at the end of October shifted us into a critical
situation. Financially speaking, we are losing some $2,000 month in
rental income. Because NLAPW does not have a zoning exemption to rent
out office space, we cannot go and round up another tenant. In and of
itself, this puts us in an even more dire financial picture.
COULD HIS LEAVING BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR NLAPW TO EXPAND??
We began to consider a positive side to this: What if we converted
this office into a multipurpose educational suite to hold workshops and
master classes, not only for members who want to come stay at Pen Arts
and grow professionally, but also as outreach programming for the
THE DUPONT CIRCLE COMMUNITY IS ACTIVELY RAISING FUNDS FOR US & WANTS US TO STAY
Pen Arts ended up being the "star" during October's Dupont Circle
Citizen's Association House Tour. Our BOD members spent days cleaning
Pen Arts: washing drapes, re-staining the front door, wiping down window
sills, polishing silver and washing windows we could reach. It totally
was a group effort...YOUR BOARD in action! Crowds poured into Pen Arts
and were greeted by board members giving mini-tours on what NLAPW is all
about. A special treat was hearing our own Vinnie Ream expert Maureen
Sappéy amaze guests with stories of our beloved member who is featured
so prominently in the Vinnie Ream Room. Maureen is a born storyteller!
groups are actively raising money for us. Most prominently, TENAC (DC
Tenants' Advocacy Coalition) founded by friend of the League, Jim
McGrath. Also, the Tabard Inn Hotel has expressed interest in holding a
fundraiser and tomorrow I meet with still others wanting to help us.
DCCA is holding their meeting in Pen Arts on Dec. 7 featuring popular
Ward 2 Council Member Jack Evans. They are expecting some 60 people.
be honest, we have to consider the efforts our neighbors are expending
to keep us here. The timing is just not right for us to say, "Forget
your contributions....we are going to sell the building!"
Successful Pen Arts DC Garden Tour Event
Art Chair Sandy Huff recently field-tested a new Pen Arts week-long
prototype: a "Pen Arts - DC Garden Tour"! Sandy and 3rd VP Meletha
Everett worked hard to put together this exciting event. Pen Arts was
booked for an entire week and attendees enjoyed an expertly-crafted
guided tour of popular DC Gardens, interspersed with educational
workshops and fun activities at Pen Arts in the evenings. Feedback has
to Sandy for her vision for Pen Arts-DC Events featuring the Arts! It
was a money-maker for the League and now gives us a template to work
from in planning similar events.
may not be politically correct, but it must be said: We must consider
the possibility that God is answering our prayers for direction in ways
we did not expect: A bequest....a large contribution...an outpouring of
community support...an unexpected new vision for enlarging our
footprint in the DC community. Could it be that the NLAPW is being
called once again to be a forerunner in impacting our culture through
What Happens Next
to our January BOD meeting, I will be fleshing out the financial
projections of what it would take to convert the Holt office into an
educational suite and what this "vision" could look like. It is
exciting to consider the possibilities of presenting cutting edge Arts
programming to address the many needs in the communities we serve.
Please share this with your members. We have much to be thankful for this season!