Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2010Volume 38:6 | Search
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|In this issue:|
Notes from the Editor - Leslie Golden
OWA Holiday Party and Gifts to the Hamilton House - Leslie Golden
Public Relations and Group Outreach Project - Susan Aitken
October Annual Business Meeting - Joanne Chow Winship
2010 Membership Survey Summary - Karlene Gullone
November Steering Committee Summary - Joanne Chow Winship
New Website Features - Bill Hocker, Webmaster
In Memoriam: Milka Tscherneva Bliznakov - Inge S. Horton
Office Spaces to Rent - Leslie Golden
Announcements - Leslie Golden
October Annual Business Meetingby Joanne Chow Winship | Share #244
The annual business meeting of OWA was held on October 19 at Shaw Contract Group in the financial district. Mary Hoska of Shaw carpets graciously opened the showroom and provided refreshments for the members who gathered to socialize and participate in the meeting. On the agenda was the approval of policies and procedures in order to provide a working process for the steering committee that would be consistent from year to year. New steering committee members were voted in for 2011. They are Susan Aitken, Gabriela Chamu, and Dede Tave. We are excited to have the involvement of seasoned architect, Susan, and the perspective of two design students, Dede and Gabie.
There was a good discussion on the goals and objectives of the OWA and agreement that they needed to be revised and looked at in more detail in the near future. (Since that discussion, a professionally facilitated planning retreat/visioning workshop has been scheduled for Spring 2011 where all members will be invited to review and recommend for adoption, revisions to the goals and objectives of OWA. The organization, the membership, and the profession have evolved over the past 37 years, and it is time to take a fresh look at how OWA can remain vital today and into the future.)
Activities and programs for 2011 and The 40th Anniversary in 2013 were prioritized and recommended for consideration to the Steering Committee and the 40th Anniversary Committee. An OWA Member Survey was passed out at the meeting and sent via email to the membership. The results will also be factored in for consideration. More information about the meeting is found under Steering Committee Minutes on the OWA website.
2010 Membership Survey Summaryby Karlene Gullone | Share #245
Thank you to all of those who took the time to respond to the member survey this year, either online, on paper, or via e-mail. We only had 22 respondents (a mere 11% of the membership). Yet, there were quite a wide range of opinions offered, regarding OWA, the purpose of the organization, and the programs that it should offer. Some felt that OWA should provide more services, more focus on women’s issues, and more publicity for women designers. Others felt that the organization is trying to do too much. There are many other organizations that provide continuing education, youth programs, and exam study groups, for example. Perhaps OWA should focus on its mission and not try to support the members in every aspect of their professional needs? Susan Aitken has made it her goal in 2011 to work on making connections with other organizations, in order to minimize this kind of duplication of effort.
The complete survey results are posted on the Forum, in the comment fields below the original request for input: https://owa-usa.org/forum.php?t=494
A summary of the actions taken by the steering committee as a result of the survey are below:
The steering committee took note that 47% felt that the organization supports women in design fields only sometimes or never. As this is the core of our mission statement, we have given this some thought. While 70% felt that OWA promotes women professionals through mentorship, only 23% felt that the overall support for women in design fields was adequate. The majority was uncertain or felt the OWA was doing an inadequate job supporting women through scholarships, special research grants, internships, educational programs for youth, or pro-bono design/construction work. Yet, due to lack of time or other resources, members were hesitant to take on too many of these projects. The steering committee would therefore like to establish a scholarship and more formal mentorship program in the upcoming year. (76% of the membership thought a more structured mentorship program was a mid-to-high priority; for 57% providing scholarships to aspiring designers was also a mid-to-high priority.) As the 40th anniversary approaches, we also have long-range planning programs in place for a Symposium (a high priority for 70% of survey respondents), Exhibition (a high priority for 58%), a Gala Celebration (a high priority for 55%), Awards & Nominations (a high-to-mid priority for 68%), and Community Service Projects (a high-to-mid priority for 63%). Please contact Gilda Puente-Peters if you are interested in helping us achieve these goals.
Based on the survey results, the Steering Committee with the help of our program coordinator, Leslie Golden, has chosen a line-up of events next year. We noted that 84% said they appreciated the Business Support programs, 75% voted for Design Tours, and 66% Green Building Presentations, and have scheduled at least one event focused on each of these topics. We have also chosen other programs which promote women designers or seem pertinent due to the current economic situation. Joanne Winship will continue to work tirelessly on OWA’s Policies & Procedures. Look for a special one-day planning retreat in the late Spring where we will work on fine-tuning the language for the goals and mission statement of the organization, and discussing how to better meet these goals for the membership.
An overwhelming number (70%) said they are not interested in allowing members to mass e-mail the membership. We will continue offering the website forum and newsletter for disseminating information. Please send your newsletter contributions to Gabriela Chamu, starting in January 2011. At the same time, 55% would like OWA to increase our web presence. Bill Hocker, Karlene Gullone, and Dede Tave will continue upgrading the website and new Facebook page. Finally, 83% would like OWA to provide more continuing education programs. Gilda will continue to offer her accessibility seminar to satisfy the continuing education requirements for the architecture license. Please contact us with your suggestions for other programs or events you would like to see in the future.
The majority of members are willing to pay a little more to accomplish OWA’s mission. The steering committee recently voted on this and may consider increasing the fees for some special events. We do not plan to increase membership dues at this time, but encourage those who are interested in contributing more to consider becoming supporting members.
The steering committee was pleased to discover that an overwhelming amount of the membership was willing to help out with OWA programs from time to time. We pledge to put more effort into member outreach next year, and involve all who are interested in supporting OWA’s mission.
Thanks again for your suggestions. Please don’t hesitate to contact a steering committee member or post on the website forum if you have questions or concerns. We appreciate your feedback throughout the year.
November Steering Committee Summaryby Joanne Chow Winship | Share #252
New Website Featuresby Bill Hocker, Webmaster | Share #240
In Memoriam: Milka Tscherneva Bliznakovby Inge S. Horton | Share #251
Milka Tscherneva Bliznakov (1927-2010)
It is with great fondness and deep sadness that I write to you that my dear friend Milka Bliznakov passed away on November 4, 2010 in her home at Blacksburg, Virginia, shortly after reaching her 83th birthday. Milka, the founder and driving force behind the International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, was indeed the friend of all women in architecture. Her passionate energy and strong dedication to the cause of recognizing the contribution of women to the field of architecture and related design fields will live on in the Archive. Milka did not only recognize the need for collecting and preserving documents of women’s work but also stimulated the use of the collection by launching an annual research prize with her own funds. It was named in her honor the Milka Bliznakov Prize.
I feel honored to have known Milka, to have had the opportunity to learn from her and support the IAWA. So many happy memories surface when thinking of her. In 1987, even before I really knew her, she invited Wendy Bertrand and me to stay in her house while she was at a conference when we visited to get to know the Archive. “Just open the sliding door on the terrace and make yourselves comfortable inside,” she told us without hesitation. I remember with fondness her generous hospitality, inviting me and other board members to stay at her home in Blacksburg when attending the annual meetings of the IAWA. We often passionately discussed the direction and the future of the Archive late into the night.
She also hosted wonderful concerts with music by women composers at her house. The board was amazed when she told us that she, then in her late seventies, carried several suitcases with drawings by Bulgarian women architects back to the United States after a trip to her homeland. She loved Bulgaria and organized an unforgettable trip for some of her friends to experience the beautiful country and the work of Bulgarian women architects. I am thankful for encouragement she gave me for my own research on Bay Area women architects and her call congratulating me when she received my book this summer. I will miss her cheerful voice and upbeat attitude when answering my calls. In her last years, she was troubled by the loss of her eye sight due to macular degeneration and not being able to read or drive her beloved historic Mercedes but she never complained.
Educated in architecture at the State Polytechnic University of Sofia, Bulgaria, Milka practiced architecture in Bulgaria, France and the United States. After earning her Ph.D. in architectural history from Columbia University she went on to teaching, first at the University of Texas and, starting in 1974, at Virginia Tech. According to her students, she was an excellent teacher as well as an outstanding researcher, became an authority on Russian Constructivism and a cofounder of the Institute of Modern Russian Culture at USC. Among several awards bestowed on her were two Fulbright scholarships which allowed her to carry out her research in Europe. A more formal obituary describing her many achievements and awards can be found here.
In the early 1980s she perceived the need to collect work by women architects because examples of women’s designs were not available to share with her classes. For this purpose, she founded the International Archive of Women in Architecture in 1985 which has since grown into a significant collection. Several California women donated money and either their whole collection or a few projects such a Sigrid Lorenzen Rupp, Lois Gottlieb, Olive Chadeayne, Lilian Rice, Rebecca Wood Watkin, Zelma Wilson, Beverly Willis, Wendy Bertrand, Kathleen Cruise, Fani Hansen, Wena Dows, Sally Bould Stan, Jane Duncombe, Barbara Woodward, and others.
To honor the vision and important work of Milka Bliznakov, I urge you to support the mission and goals of the International Archive of Women in Architecture at Virginia Tech. Please donate documents of your own work to the Archive by contacting:
Special Collections, Digital Library and Archives
University Libraries, Virginia Tech
P.O. Box 90001
Blacksburg, VA 24062-9001 USA
or e-mail Special Collections at firstname.lastname@example.org
or make a financial donation in her name to the Milka Bliznakov Prize Fund of the IAWA, c/o Donna Dunay, Chair, IAWA, School of Architecture + Design, Virginia Tech, 201 Cowgill Hall, Blacksburg, Va. 24061-0205
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