Another annual AIGA Leadership Retreat has come and gone. This event is one of those experiences where one feels fortunate to be a part of. (gah! ending on a preposition! oh, well…) Every year local chapters wrangle a representative (or 2, or 3, or 5…depending on the size of the chapter) to come to one spot and get inspired, get information and get connected!
The days were full of information that almost was mind-boggling. Every year I leave feeling a strange combination of being mentally fatigued and super excited to accomplish all of my goals. The swag tables are awesome and the cards/postcards/posters I gather up fuels the fire of my brainstorming for the year to come.
But I’m missing the most important element. The people. I live in an area where the arts and design worlds are not particularly appreciated as much as it should (but it is a step up from some surrounding areas, so I guess at least that’s good?) and most of the time I feel rather alone and isolated. Last year in Salt Lake City, I attended my first AIGA Retreat. And it was the first time in quite possible ever that I didn’t feel alone. I found people with similar interests as me (“secretly judging you by your font selection” … that sort of thing haha) who loved and lived the art and design world. I found, for once, a pocket of people that I could call friends. These new friends of mine stayed in contact with me all year and for this alone I thank AIGA. So at this year’s retreat, I had the honor of reconnecting with my friends and had the pleasure of meeting so many more new friends.
I love design. I love teaching design. I love following its trends. I love looking at both beautiful and ugly typography. I love books on design. And these were all reasons I joined AIGA. But here’s the real secret: I joined AIGA because I wanted to meet my own kind, to make friends. I have not only met friends, but I have made lifelong connections to people in a community that I am a part of.
So with that all being said….here’s to AIGA. Here’s to this organization’s almost 100 years of being a group and to many, many more.