Planning For Our Future

This page will highlight current and future planning efforts and projects undertaken

by the New Mexico Architectural Foundation.

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Posted December 26, 2021

NEW MEXICO ARCHITECTURAL FOUNDATION

STATEMENT OF DIRECTION – 2021

The New Mexico Architectural Foundation (NMAF) has been successfully functioning for over thirty years as a membership organization. There have been many accomplishments and ongoing projects:

  • We gave birth to a useful resource in the Guide to New Mexico Architecture that needs our continued support.
  • We are a public voice in Albuquerque for preservation and planning.
  • We are the only statewide organization promoting public awareness of architecture.
  • We are a statewide source for recognizing excellence in architecture and individual and group efforts that focus on architecture.
  • We provide a vehicle for increasing public awareness in our Facebook and website and newsletter.
  • We have been supporters of school zone design education – Architecture for Children.
  • We have conducted annual architectural-focused tours of communities across the state.

The financial support of our sponsors and members allows the NMAF to contribute to student involvement, education, exhibits and publications that address an understanding and appreciation of architecture and our architecture traditions. The NMAF gives voice to the issues and concerns of our membership and the community and access to the history, heritage, and design of architecture through planned events and tours.

Throughout our history, the NMAF membership has been a diverse representation of people in architecture, preservation, education, and art. This community of committed people has kept our focus on the unique built environment and the integration of design in both the history and future of New Mexico. Our organization has stayed true to the notion that we are about architecture, not architects, and we have enjoyed a broad tapestry of membership over the years.

The Problem

Times change and we have seen those changes play out over the past few years in the make-up and direction of the Foundation. The COVID pandemic resulted in the suspension of some of our normal events and operations. Membership is at an all-time low with only about a dozen actual members. Our membership has commonly been in the range of over forty to fifty members. Few, if any, in the organization’s membership have come forward to participate in the leadership or direction of the Foundation. The Foundation is now and has been functioning through the commitment and actions of the Board of Directors. What we are experiencing is not uncommon.  In general, there has been a broader trend away from membership participation in organizations such as ours.

The NMAF seems to be at a crossroads with many challenges that have to be addressed if we want to move forward. We have been riding out the Pandemic but essentially in a suspended mode with monthly Board meetings (mostly via Zoom) and newsletters. The “normal” membership functions such as the annual meeting, awards, and annual tour are suspended. There are many distractions and impediments to what has been “normal”.

The Foundation’s treasury has been and is dependent on membership dues and contributions. We have maintained a combined account balance of slightly over $21,500 over the last few years. We have been able to acquire sponsorships from area businesses to help cover the cost of our annual tours. The treasury amount is not sufficient to carry the Foundation forward under the current membership situation. We have, in the past, benefited from the paid services of a publicity coordinator (essentially a Webmaster) who managed the NMAF webpage, Facebook page, produced the monthly newsletter, and maintained membership mailing lists. Our publicity coordinator has not charged us for the last year of services but the coordinator position is now vacant, and we seeking a replacement.  That future expense for services will further deplete the Foundation treasury. We estimate that the accounts will be mostly empty within a few years. We do have other normal expenses and have expenses related to the on-line Guide to New Mexico Architecture.

New Direction

This is the time for a thorough and realistic assessment of our assets and our challenges and the development of a strategy for our future as an organization.  We must arrive at a more sustainable model. The Foundation Board has been engaged in a long-range planning effort over the past year. We have gained input from involved members and and past board members and from some of our sister non-profit organizations with a similar focus. These include the Albuquerque AIA Chapter leadership and the Modern Albuquerque organization. This planning effort has helped chart a new direction for the NMAF.

In general, we are moving away from our former membership-based existence, eliminating some functions such as annual meetings, becoming a predominantly “on-line” organization, expanding fund-raising efforts, and simplifying operations.

Membership – The NMAF will move away from the current membership model. Memberships will no longer be solicited or accepted in the NMAF. In this model, everyone is a member and open to participate in our activities and efforts. Instead of memberships, the NMAF will seek sponsorships and contributions to sustain our on-going operations and will seek some grant funding as it becomes available and is appropriate.   We encourage our current and past members to stay involved and consider making contributions to the Foundation.

By-Laws – The current by-laws of the NMAF will be amended to reflect this new direction

Leadership – The existing Executive Board will continue in place and will maintain the on-going operations of the Foundation. The Board will be expanded to include membership from the UNM School of Architecture and Planning – a faculty member and a student member. Other Board members may be added as we move into this new model.

Publications and On-line Presence – The NMAF newsletter will be changed from monthly to a quarterly publication. We will maintain the NMAF website, Facebook page, a new Instagram page, and the (on-line) Guide to New Mexico Architecture. We will maintain a mailing list of current and recent membership for distribution of the newsletter. We will also move forward with a plan to create a peer-reviewed journal addressing architecture topics and issues in New Mexico.

Architecture Tours and Annual Awards – The NMAF will continue (as soon as possible) with our annual architecture tours and our recognition awards. The tours will be ticketed events and open to the public. These have been suspended during the pandemic but will be reinstated once the Foundation has stabilized under the new model and the public health situation permits.

Immediate Actions

  • Pursue hiring of a part-time Publications/Internet Coordinator to carry forward our web presence (WordPress website, Facebook, quarterly newsletter, maintaining the Guide, etc.)
  • Address changes to the by-laws
  • Seek corporate and/or individual sponsorships and donations to cover Foundation expenses and budget. Consider “crowdsourcing” as an option. Maintain non-profit tax status.
  • Continue planning for the annual tour to be (hopefully) scheduled as a ticketed event in 2022 and open to the public
  • Review and refine the Annual NMAF Award program regarding the nomination and judging process.

Future Actions

  • Research the feasibility and consider developing a series of on-line video tours. Consider resuming the concept of a lecture series.
  • Explore collaboration with other similar purposed groups in Albuquerque, Santa Fe or statewide as possible partners in projects. This could include shared web personnel, physical locations, etc.
  • Work to establish an annual peer-reviewed on-line journal on architecture that serves UNM or other state architecture academics or professionals.  This will provide a new focus on New Mexico architecture and preservation that isn’t in place now.
  • Provide advertising space on the NMAF website and other on-line projects to attract sponsorships.

The planning effort and discussions over the past few months have offered a new vision of the New Mexico Architectural Foundation but preserved our focus on the original mission.  We have a full agenda ahead of us and will welcome participation of committed past members in this continuing effort.

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