Got a Live Connection?
More than half the SAQA regions now have groups that meet locally. It may be called a pod or a circle, or some other name but, where members are able to get together, fiber art is thriving. For the sake of unity, we’re lumping them all under SAQA “Local Connections”, or "LC’s" for short.
NC/VA Local Connection members at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
What’s a Local Connection?
An in-person gathering of two or more SAQA members and guests in a local community within a SAQA region
To stimulate and support in-person gatherings of SAQA members in local communities for the purpose of sharing a love of art quilting
Guests may attend up to three times to decide if they wish to join SAQA.
Structure of a Local Connection
SAQA members should be welcome to attend any SAQA meeting or event should they be traveling in or outside of their region.
Provide SAQA members an opportunity to get together to share ideas and derive inspiration from each other’s work.
The regional reps may assign LC locations, or they may develop organically. Most LC’s meet in members' homes, a library, educational facilities, stores, or places of worship. They can also meet online.
LC program formats:
Each group is unique - Some focus on critiques and fiber art trends, while others have field trips and share calls-for-entry and local art exhibits. Most meet monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly.
- Preplan LC events with the Reps to avoid conflicts with venues, presenters, etc. within the region.
- Announce to the whole region, open to all members. If space is limited, ok to ask for an RSVP. The goal is that everyone has an equal chance to participate - the same as for regional events.
- All SAQA members are welcome, just as in regional meetings.
- Understand and follow SAQA’s Community Guidelines.
Anyone can start a Local Connection
You don’t have to wait for your Rep or someone else to notice there are clusters of members living near you who might want to know each other. Just contact your Regional Rep and offer to host just ONE meeting. The Rep will then announce it to the entire region, and those interested will show up or indicate interest. If it doesn’t work out, you’re off the hook and have no further obligations.
If you do like each other, the group decides how often to meet, where, which activities (if any), who does what, etc. This will vary greatly because each group is as unique as the people within it. All the group has to do is stay in touch with the Rep so future meetings can be announced.
Live in a region without a rep?
No problem. You can still have Local Connections. Just contact the Regional Coordinator at email@example.com and she’ll announce it for you and answer any questions until a Rep can be found.
Size doesn’t matter!
Remember, it only takes two people to form a Local Connection. Success is not determined by how many are in a connection, but by how many in a region are connected.
Beyond regional lines
In some geographic areas clusters of members extend into two regions. In those cases, just make sure you coordinate with the Reps in both regions.
Regions where members live too far from each other to make live meetings practical, often use the SAQA Zoom program to connect them virtually. SAQA has a professional Zoom account, so we can add as many meetings as we like at no extra charge. Ask your Regional Rep how to take advantage of this service.
Hybrids for outliers and others
Clusters of members are usually found in heavily populated areas. But what about the outliers living too far to comfortably drive to Local Connection meetings? If they have internet service, Zoom virtual meetings are a great way to connect these members. Just set up a computer screen at the live meeting and, once connected, they’re part of the group. This also works well for shut-ins unable to leave home and for working members with a limited amount of time for meetings.
Your Regional Reps are always your best source of information. You can find them on the Regional Reps page. If they don’t know the answer, they can turn to the Regional Coordinator who knows where to chase it down within the SAQA network. And if you don’t have a Rep right now, contact the Regional Coordinator directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No matter who you are or where you are, you’re always connected with SAQA.