Call to Action

by Karen Lu, AIA, NOMA, AIA Minnesota President

We have the power to change the profession of architecture — and by extension, to literally change the world around us.”

                                                                                                                                           — Mary-Margaret Zindren, CAE

 

AIA Minnesota’s mission of “advancing a vital profession, vibrant communities, and architecture that endures” is more critical than ever in this current environment of deep economic uncertainty, and increased inequities caused by climate change and a history of racial injustice. We are asking our members and colleagues industry-wide to spread the word and, if financially able, to participate in two upcoming, highly-valued programs to support AIA Minnesota:

 

Virtual Homes by Architects Tour

  • Share with your personal and professional networks
  • Demonstrate the value of architect-led residential design to the public
  • See an example of a high-quality immersive virtual tour here!
  • Tickets are only $15 to explore 17 architect-designed homes (September 26-October 10)

                 

Virtual A’20 MN, the Minnesota Conference on Architecture

  • Focus on Design for Positive Climate Impact & Environmental Justice (Tuesday, October 13)
  • Focus on Resilience & Collective Recovery (Tuesday, October 20)
  • Focus on the Future of Design (Tuesday, October 27)

 

Due to the impact of the economic downturn on our profession, registration for the A’20 MN Conference will be free to AIA members who have been laid off or furloughed, and to recent graduates who have not been able to secure paid work within the field.

 

Each year, AIA Minnesota relies on the Homes by Architects Tour (HBAT) and the Minnesota Conference on Architecture together for approximately 1/3 of our overall revenue. Due to the pandemic and inability to meet in person, the HBAT net revenue goal has been decreased by an estimated 50% and the Conference net revenue goal has been decreased by an estimated 10%. We are hopeful, but not confident, that these revised goals will be met and we can enter 2021 with a somewhat optimistic financial outlook.

 

It is important to note that AIA Minnesota, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, is not eligible for the many resources available to for-profit and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or relief programs that focus on the nonprofit sector. We have explored – and continue to explore – many opportunities for assistance, but the economic climate for nonprofit 501(c)(6) organizations is disheartening.

 

Even as AIA Minnesota has taken measures to reduce expenses, the staff has been busier than ever supporting our members in countless new ways: guidance on pandemic relief programs, like PPP and EIDL; Town Halls listening to member concerns; a Future of Design series collaborating with leaders from other industries; providing input to the State of Minnesota on reopening guidance for restaurants and bars; the MSP NOMA matching program for properties affected by the civil unrest; and reworking the formats of HBAT and the conference to accommodate a virtual environment. In the meantime, the following work – already underway – continues: growing our advocacy at the state legislature, increasing our trainings focused on design for climate action, offering new Intercultural Development programs, developing an action plan from the Culture Change Initiative to improve the culture of our profession, and shifting from the bi-monthly Architecture MN magazine to ENTER – a digital weekly and print annual.

 

AIA Minnesota offers a multitude of valuable opportunities to share knowledge, access the expertise of industry colleagues, and advocate for our profession – but the greatest value is that of our collective professional community and the potential for change that we can accomplish together. AIA Minnesota is known for being a leader among AIA chapters and with your continued engagement, we can continue this important work. Thank you for attending the HBAT and the A’20 MN Conference. Thank you for encouraging and supporting others to do the same. Thank you for maintaining the strength of our architecture community.



View the September 2020 edition of Matrix.