Mission & Board of Directors

2020–2021 Annual Report

Dear Members,

 

It is my great honor to greet you as I enter my ninth year as the President of the Art Deco Society of New York (ADSNY). Each June, ADSNY holds an annual meeting to share important highlights of the past 12 months with our members. This year, while we are still unable to gather in-person, I would like to share with you this overview of ADSNY’s recent achievements.

 

Meghan Weatherby, ADSNY’s Executive Director, and I thank you for your continued support of ADSNY throughout the past year. Together as a team, we are committed to you, our members, to our wonderful Deco city, and to Art Deco enthusiasts everywhere.

The past unprecedented 12 months have been a challenge for everyone, everywhere. When ADSNY was forced to go on "PAUSE” in March 2020, Meghan and I worked quickly to find ways to keep ADSNY’s members engaged. We continued to develop meaningful programs, made the voices of Deco enthusiasts known in the preservation community, joined our fellow Art Deco Societies from around the world to celebrate the first World Art Deco Month, and reached out to new audiences of at-risk students and underserved communities to tell the Art Deco story in neighborhoods throughout the New York City.

ADSNY was one of the first cultural institutions in the city to move to online programming and I am very proud that ADSNY’s web-based programs became a model for many other, and much larger, organizations in New York and abroad. Meghan deserves much credit for guiding this new effort and hosting 38 online events since our first in April 2020.

One of the very positive results of this new web-based format is that we have been able to address an often-heard comment from Deco enthusiasts around the world-––how they wished they, too, could attend our engaging events. 

These online programs now offer our members and Deco enthusiasts everywhere the ability to regularly participate in our rich programming. And, it allows ADSNY to draw upon distinguished experts around the world to present an insightful array of diverse programs that can be attended by our local members as well as by individuals across many time zones and geographic areas around the world. Another added benefits of online events, which many of you have noted, is that our audience now has the option of viewing ADSNY events live or at a time most convenient for them, through our Deco On DemandTM video events.

ADSNY’s online programs have even allowed us to continue to offer tours of New York City's Art Deco enclaves. One added benefit of these virtual tours is that we can see architectural and design details up close that can’t be seen from street level. We can also see interiors not usually open on our tours, as well as maps and ephemera such as original building plans, brochures, and more.

While we look forward to returning to in-person walking tours in the coming months, ADSNY will continue to offer a mix of in-person and online activities, as many of you have requested. We are delighted to announce that in July 2021 we will offer our Deco Along the Hudson tour in both formats. Architectural historian and dear friend of ADSNY, Matt Postal, will lead ADSNY members on our first in-person walking tour on Sunday, July 11, and two days later, on Tuesday, July 13, he will offer that same tour virtually––with the addition of detail photos and ephemera that we have all come to enjoy. So, whether you are eager to get out and join our first walking tour after the shutdown, or you prefer to see Deco from the comfort of your home, we hope you will join us for these first events of the 2021–22 ADSNY year.

Just as ADSNY converted its events to an online format, the same was accomplished for our Documenting DecoTM educational program that serves New York City public school students in grades K–12. With the help of our Coordinator of Community Outreach, Christine Stoddard, ADSNY converted our live in-school programs to virtual and worked with teachers and students to present the program to 10 New York City schools this year. So, ADSNY continued to enrich the lives of young people by introducing them to interwar architecture and design. Documenting Deco is made possible by generous donations from our members and a grant from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. 

You can support this worthwhile program by adopting a K–12 school to honor someone special in your life, give back to a school that you once attended, or support a school in your own neighborhood––where you can see the kids in action. To learn more, please view the in-person and online program materials or contact us at Info@ArtDeco.org.

A generous ADSNY donor funded the development of our new interactive Deco Dream CityTM program, which allows ADSNY members and Deco enthusiasts everywhere to work together, in-person or remotely, with the children and teens in their lives to create their own cityscapes. Through a series of age-appropriate videos, participants can work together, whether in the same room or miles apart, to create their own dream city using different artistic mediums.

 

ADSNY was also pleased to continue the Telling The Art Deco Stories of our NeighborhoodsTM series virtually. This program provides illustrated talks and walking tours to introduce residents to the distinctive Art Deco buildings, rich early twentieth century history, and unique interwar culture that shaped their own neighborhoods. ADSNY partners with community organizations to engage their neighborhood residents in this unique program. By offering these neighborhood talks and tours virtually, we have found that these events reach and educate a wider audience to the unique Art Deco heritage found in so many underserved communities. This program is funded by contributions from our members and grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Despite the many challenges of the pandemic, the 2020 issue of the Art Deco New York journal came to fruition, although digitally, since printing during the lockdown was not possible. This issue features an updated design and celebrates the "Year of the Woman" with a rich variety of informative, engaging articles about many notable women of the interwar period. The journal is always a major undertaking and possible only through the important efforts of our volunteer team, including Tony Robins, Sandra Tansky, Peter Singer, Alma Kadragic, and Diane Nottle.

The New York Art Deco Registry and Map, our web-based listing of existing Art Deco buildings throughout the five boroughs, continues to grow. This free resource is available to everyone interested in learning about buildings throughout the city and is a great source for creating personalized self-guided walking tours. Through the help of dedicated volunteers––Harriet Abramson, Lindsay Cohen, Jim Duke, and Brita Okin, in addition to the help of Board Member Mary Beth Betts and our intern, Shelbye Doyen, this resource has continued to grow in both quantity of listings and quality of information. Please contact us a Registry@ArtDeco.org to join ADSNY’s team of volunteers in walking the streets of the city in quest of undiscovered Deco gems or, if you prefer, you can research buildings currently included in this resource on your schedule from the comfort of your home.

This past year, ADSNY also launched our ever-growing line of exclusive Art Deco-inspired merchandise. New designs and products are added regularly, so be sure to check it out. A portion of each purchases helps support ADSNY’s mission.

During this challenging time, your financial support is more important than ever, so please consider renewingraising your membership level, or donating now.

ADSNY’s achievements are possible only because of the support of our members, our volunteers, and our Board of Directors––including Tony Robins, Vice-President; Marie Tarmy, Treasurer; Aidan McManus, Secretary; and members Mary Beth Betts; Devon Caraher; Stephen Van Dyk––in addition to our distinguished Board of Advisors. Of course, none of what we accomplished this past year would have been possible without the dedication and creativity of Meghan Weatherby, our multi-talented Executive Director now entering her seventh year with ADSNY, who is always there to assist you. Many of you have come to know her even more this year as the unflappable host of our Zoom events.

 

Meghan and I continue to dream big. With your help we have been able to transform ADSNY and make so many of our dreams a reality. We appreciate your continued interest and support, especially during this past challenging year, you have helped ADSNY continue play a vital role in this, the greatest Art Deco city in the world.

 

We always welcome our member’s suggestions for topics, potential speakers, activities and tours, so please keep sending us your ideas and feedback. Stay well and please stay engaged with us.

Have a good, and safe, summer.


Roberta

Roberta Nusim

President | Art Deco Society of New York

Board of Directors

President: Roberta Nusim

Vice-President: Anthony W. Robins

Treasurer: Marie Tarmy

Secretary: Aidan T. McManus

  

Board Members: Mary Beth Betts, Devon Caraher, Stephen H. Van Dyk 

  

Advisory Board Members: Donald Albrecht, Simeon Bankoff, Andrew S. Dolkart, Marilyn F. Friedman, Polly Guerin, Pamela Hamilton, Susan Henshaw Jones, Joan Kahr,​ Audrey Lipton, David Gerrard Lowe, Frank Prial, Kathleen Murphy Skolnik