Namta has sent, 21 June 2021, the following letter to its membership:
Dear NAMTA Member,
I am writing on behalf of the NAMTA Board of Directors and staff to share some very exciting news. NAMTA and AFCI, the Association for Creative Industries (formerly known as CHA), have entered into an agreement to begin the process to merge into one broad and diverse association representing all areas of the creative art industries.
Unlike many mergers, this was not a matter of necessity for NAMTA, but one of opportunity. It is an exciting endeavor to align two associations that have many synergies in the creative art industries. The leaders of both NAMTA and AFCI have discussed this possible partnership many times over the past decade, and after a very successful joint virtual show, and the upcoming 2022 joint physical show in Orlando, it became clear the time was right to move forward.
The uniting of these two memberships will provide the ability to offer greater opportunities in both education, art advocacy and much more. Our annual trade show and conference will attract a larger and wider audience with much more for all NAMTA membership to participate in and benefit from. Most importantly, it will ensure the financial health and stability of the association for years to come.
We are sure some of you have questions and the Board and NAMTA staff want to provide you with the opportunity to have them answered. We’ve included a number of FAQs on this email, but please keep in mind a few items are yet to be determined. In addition, we will hold a number of virtual Town Halls to allow you to ask questions and provide valuable feedback. Your input and support will be key in ensuring the success of this partnership.
We know change can yield both excitement and uncertainty, but we are certain the future for NAMTA is bright.
- Who is AFCI?
AFCI, previously known to many of you as CHA – Craft & Hobby Association, is the premier trade association for the global creative arts products industries. Their members comprise the $36 billion+ creative arts industries around the globe, including: suppliers, buyers, designers, educator/demonstrators, digital content creators, professional makers/DIYers. Over the years NAMTA and AFCI have shared many members.
- Will the merged Associations have a new name?
The NAMTA name has over 70 years of rich history and recognition. As a new name is being discussed careful consideration and membership input will be a valuable part of this decision.
- Will the trade show have a new name?
For 2022 the trade show name will be “Art Materials World 2022 Featuring Creativation”. Future show branding will be discussed in the coming year.
- Will we operate all under one membership with one board?
Yes, if the final merger agreement is approved by both the NAMTA & AFCI memberships and the Board of Directors of each association, AFCI members will become part of NAMTA. In addition, two additional seats will be added to the NAMTA board for AFCI representation.
- What will be the combined membership of the new association?
The current AFCI membership includes approximately 437 member companies. NAMTA currently has 350 member companies making the total new membership 787 member companies for the 2021 membership year.
- What will be the main changes to Art Materials World in Orlando?
As NAMTA and AFCI were already scheduled to co-locate in Orlando, NAMTA will continue to move forward with developing the most cohesive live show and robust education offerings. NAMTA will continue to solicit member input to assist with planning the conference and trade show.
- How does a merger benefit both AFCI, NAMTA and its members?
The NAMTA and AFCI Boards of Directors view this merger as a strategic opportunity which will assure that members will have a more secure and sustainable future. The new association will have the ability to do things on a much greater scale and offer additional opportunities in education, advocacy, and much more. There will be significant benefits to the annual conference and trade show including a larger and wider audience and the ability to manage our costs and efficiencies more effectively. Uniting the two memberships will foster ideas and collaborations to move the industry forward.
- Do AFCI and NAMTA members have any input on the decision to merge or not?
Yes, the final approval to merge will be voted on by each membership; each member company will have one vote. Two-thirds of the minimum required vote is needed to approve the merger. A series of virtual Town Hall meetings will be held in which members will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.
- How quickly would this happen?
We anticipate the merger to be completed by mid-August.
- What is the financial impact of the merger?
As part of the process leading up to the final vote to merge, AFCI will be required to complete due diligence verifying that they have no outstanding liabilities. AFCI’s remaining assets will be transferred to NAMTA upon the signing of the merger agreement. AFCI’s Foundation will close as part of the merger process; all assets were used as scholarships to support attendance to Creativation+ Art Materials World in March 2021.
- Will membership dues change?
For the membership year 2021 dues will remain the same for all NAMTA members. Membership dues for 2022 will be reevaluated as the AFCI membership categories are incorporated into NAMTA’s. We do not foresee any significant changes in membership dues for NAMTA members.
- Will booth fees for Art Materials World change for 2022?
The Board has approved that the booth fees for 2022 will remain the same as the 2020 rates.
- Will the merger mean our trade show is open to the general public?
No, Art Materials World Featuring Creativation will not be open to the public. While AFCI does have categories of membership that include designers, educator/demonstrators, digital content creators and professional makers/DIYers, they have always been included in co-location plans for Orlando. Through the proposed merger we can now better coordinate what this looks like while including NAMTA member input.
- Will AFCI be represented on the NAMTA board?
Yes, AFCI will be represented with two board seats immediately. The vote to approve these two seats will be included as part of the final vote to merge by the NAMTA membership.
- Will AFCI retain its own staff?
No, the NAMTA staff will assume all operations.
- Will NAMTA benefits remain?
Yes, all current NAMTA benefits will remain and be expanded to include AFCI members. New benefits may certainly emerge to serve all member segments.
- When will booth and sponsorship sales for Art Materials World 2022 Featuring Creativation begin?
The exhibitor prospectus is currently being finalized and booth and sponsorship sales for both memberships will begin in the next few weeks.
- Will priority points still be used for booth assignments?
While NAMTA exhibitor priority points will continue to be in place, the AFCI exhibitors will need to be incorporated into the NAMTA priority point system based on their years exhibited. NAMTA will make every effort to ensure this process is as fair as possible.
- What impact will the merger have on NAMTA’s Art Advocacy program?
As a larger association there will be a better opportunity to work with other arts advocacy groups to increase awareness of the arts.
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