T h e U k r a i n i a n M u s e u m
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Annual Meeting of The Ukrainian Museum (June 2003)
Ukrainian Museum's Annual Meeting 2003
"This is the last time we will have an Annual Meeting in these premises," said Olha Hnateyko, President of the Board of Trustees of The Ukrainian Museum, speaking before an audience of members and friends of the institution, gathered for the 26th Annual Meeting of the Museum. The meeting was held on June 1, 2003 at the Museum's location on 2nd Avenue in New York City. The implication of O. Hnateyko's statement was not lost on the listeners, who responded with applause and cheers.
Mrs. Hnateyko was referring to the status of the construction of the new Museum facility on East 6th Street. Without being explicit she let those present know that construction will be completed soon, and that the following year, in 2004, the Annual Meeting will be held in the new Museum building.
For the past several years the building project has been the predominant issue of interest and discussion during the Museum's Annual Meetings, since the project, in the majority, is supported with funds from the greater Ukrainian community. The project had a long and arduous journey in its progress toward completion. In December 2002 the "topping out" ceremony at the site boosted public confidence in the project's ability to attain set milestones.
During this Annual Meeting Nicolas Andreadis, chair of the Building Committee, seconded and defined O. Hnateyko's statement. Mr. Andreadis said that the project is going according to plan and according to the "reality check" it is expected to be completed in the fall 2003. He described the various stages in the construction process, which occurred during the past years. He cited problems in the beginning of the construction process, which delayed the timetable by four months, but said that these were resolved within budget. He complemented architect George Sawicki of Sawicki Tarella+Design, PC for designing a very efficient museum building under every aspect. Mr. Andreadis' evaluation is based on his experience of many years with Turner Construction, a giant in the industry. He is currently the CEO of his own company, Triton Construction Co., which handles multimillion-dollar construction jobs, specializing in the education market.
A very important issue pertaining to the building project, discussed by the Board President, was funding. O. Hnateyko emphasized that although the construction will be finished this fall, the task of raising funds to equip and furnish the building, and to pay for the organization and presentation of the inaugural exhibitions and related programs, and the publishing of exhibition catalogues needs to be accomplished. She said that the Museum is intent on intensive fundraising the latter half of this year to reach a goal of $1 million to cover the anticipated expenses.
She thanked members, friends and benefactors of the Museum for their exceptional generosity and community spirit in helping the institution reach set goals. In particular, Mrs. Hnateyko spoke about individual examples of great generosity and support, which have made the construction phase of the building project possible, exemplifying Museum benefactors Eugene and Daymel Shklar, as well as Self Reliance NY Federal Credit Union. She also cited the financial and moral support received over many years from members of the Ukrainian National Women's League of America (UNWLA). The organization's president Iryna Kurowyckyj, said that UNWLA, the founders of the Museum, will continue uninterrupted endorsement of the institution and its projects.
During 2002 while the new museum facility was being built, the work of the institution at its present location on Second Avenue continued in every aspect of its operations, reported Director Maria Shust. In the spring the Museum relinquished the use of its fourth floor gallery to UNWLA, limiting only the physical parameters of its activities. Paralleling the concise and precise information provided in the 76-page Annual Report that was available to participants during the Meeting, M. Shust gave a well-rounded description of how the Museum functioned during the year. A copy of the Annual Report, which also contains the institution's financial statements, as presented by Oleh Sawkiw at the Meeting, will be sent to each Museum member in the early part of this summer.
Of special interest was Ms. Shust's description of the inaugural exhibitions that are scheduled to open the new Museum building. Work is in progress on these exhibits that involve scholars, art historians, folklorists and ethnographers from the United States and Ukraine. Prof. Yaroslaw Leshko will curate the Alexander Archipenko art exhibition and Prof. Orest Subtelny has agreed to curate an exhibition exploring the cultural life of the Ukrainian immigration in the United States. He will utilize materials from the Museum's Archival collection. The folk art exhibit, organized on the basis of three symbolic elements - tree of life, the sun, and the goddess, which are found in various expressions of Ukrainian folk art, is being organized by curator Lubow Wolynetz, with the help of consultants, Dr. Liudmyla Bulgakova, Curator of Embroidery at the Lviv branch of the M. Ryl'skyi Institute of Art, Folklore & Enthology and Prof. Natalia Kononenko from the University of Virginia in Charlotesville.
There was a suggestion from the audience to further enrich the Museum's fine arts collection so that it will support the institution's important mission of developing collections that reflect the cultural achievements of the Ukrainian immigration. It is most important to include in the fine arts collection the works of artists of Ukrainian descent, who have in the past and are today creating and popularizing their artistic identities in various parts of the world. Museum supporters and art enthusiasts can be instrumental in helping to develop this initiative through the identification of collectors, their cultivation, donation of art works to the Museum, donation of funds to cover purchases of important art works, or including provisions to the effect in last will and testaments.
Museum members voted on an important issue at the Annual Meeting, namely to increase membership dues in the following categories: Senior - from $10 to $15; Individual - from $30 to $40; and family - from $60 to $75. The categories of Student and Sustaining remained unchanged at $10 and $100 respectively. Membership dues are indispensable in the financial management of the Museum. The current raises in dues are in anticipation of partially covering the cost of operations in the new building and will come into effect when the Museum begins operations in the new facility in 2004.
At the Annual Meeting Museum members also voted on the acceptance of the lineup of the Executive Board of the Board of Trustees, with Olha Hnateyko as president. Several members whose terms were expiring this year were reelected to the Board, and Anna Rak was the only new incoming member.
Marketing a museum is a vital part of its agenda. Secluded, contemplative places for a very long time, museums have in the last several decades created a renaissance of their own by evolving into vibrant centers of learning and activities for the whole family. Technology plays an important part in effective marketing of museum agenda. The Ukrainian Museum's web pages on the Internet have been instrumental in presenting the Museum's image throughout the world, inviting visitors, providing information and generating revenue from gift shop sales and other promotions. According to Hanya Krill of Brama, the webmaster of the Museum's pages, the institution has enjoyed a steady escalation in "hits" since it first joined the Internet in 1997, rising from a monthly average of 1,113 for that year to over 14,000 in 2003.
The Annual Meeting was chaired by Myroslaw Shmigel. Recording the minutes was Daria Drozdowsky.
For information about the Museum and how to support its building project: 212 228-0110; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or check the Museum's web page: www.ukrainianmuseum.org.
The following is the new roster of the Ukrainian Museum's Board of Trustees:
The Executive Board
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