ASL 2025 - March 2016 Update.

March 17, 2016 - "The League was founded as a place that anyone can go on their own schedule to any art class without any prerequisites or qualifications. The proposed two-year program could change everything about the League, depending on its design and purpose. The Board moved ahead with this new program without informing the membership about the following: What exactly is the program's purpose and exact design? Is the certificate program something that members want?" [CONTINUED]

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Compare for yourself:
The ASL Constitution vs.
the Board's proposal.


The Board proposes reducing the Membership's voting power by 75% and giving virtually unsupervised authority over the League to one individual, the Board President. You owe it to yourself to carefully review their plan. To help, ASL 2025 has prepared this interactive table. It shows you the main points plus the full text of each current By-law next to the board's planned replacement. [CONTINUED]

Also see: The September 30th By-laws presentation on YouTube.


ASL 2025 Looks Forward to Seeing You in 2016!

Dec. 10, 2015 - "ASL 2025's advocacy must and will continue in the new year. There are many pressing issues requiring the Membership's attention and action. One priority is the proposal to change drastically the League's By-laws in April. We urge you to inspect what the Board proposes. The proposed changes reduce each member's voting power by 75% and give virtually unsupervised authority over the League to one person, the Board President." [CONTINUED]


Regarding legal fees and
the League's added $6 million.


Dec. 1, 2015 - "Mr. Barbieri originally executed a contract to sell the development rights for $25.8 in October 2013. As the court record confirms, it was only due to efforts by the League members who raised the due diligence issues -- including Mr. Caraballo -- that the League gained an additional $6 million from the transaction. The appeal was taken due to the adverse effect that the trial court's ruling is likely to have the next time a real estate developer makes an offer to the Board to buy the League's 57th Street property. The Membership's authority in such a major decision and its rights to be fully and truthfully apprised by the Board must be protected." [CONTINUED]



A Painting of the League, Part 1:
Introduction and Finances


Nov. 25, 2015 - "The upcoming vote is not just about electing a President and Board for a year. The vote will also play a pivotal role in determining: if and how the League's constitution and bylaws are changed; whether plans continue for major $30+ million dollar construction; and whether the necessary experience and talent is put in place to significantly improve fundraising and reduce the growth of the annual operating losses. It is very probable that the election outcome will significantly determine the League's financial risk profile, character and mission for many years or decades to come." [CONTINUED]


A Painting of the League, Part 2:
Our Vote and Our Bloat


Dec. 1, 2015 - "Please shepherd your $20,500 'share' of the $82M as if it was your own money. One of the reasons many non-profits fail is that Member interests or 'shares' in non-profits can seem intangible or ethereal. Management of for-profit companies are accountable to stock analysts, fund managers and other economic shareholders who watch and evaluate management's performance every single quarter, year in and year out. I'm appealing to Members to please act more like an economic shareholder in the League." [CONTINUED]


A Painting of the League, Part 3:
Power and Constitution


Dec. 1, 2015 - "I believe there are too many proposed changes for the Members to reasonably evaluate and discuss. I would like to see a list of what changes, if any, are required by NY non-profit law." [CONTINUED]


Jessica Lane: Endowment funds
and building renovations.


Dec. 2, 2015 - "It is important to realize that the long term existence of the League depends upon our endowment and its careful management. [...] Construction of the type proposed is an open-ended commitment of money. In general, construction projects in NYC have a habit of finally costing a multiple of estimates. Work on an old building is particular risky, because no matter how careful the planning, work is likely to uncover problems that must be solved, and, because of the nature of renovation, such work will be custom and expensive." [CONTINUED]


By-law 28: Regarding electioneering
by ANY League employee


Nov. 29, 2015 - "By pulling in League instructors to electioneer on their behalf, the incumbent Board has deliberately made a number of our esteemed faculty members complicit in a wholesale violation of By-law Amendment 28. Our not-for-profit corporation's By-laws carry the legal authority of law." [CONTINUED]


A Message from Marne Rizika

Dec. 1, 2015 - "I and other members formed our ASL 2025 slate to get the League headed back in the right direction, with fresh ideas, a healthy respect for the institution's values and mission, and governance by members for members. We support transparency, accountability, responsiveness, and real membership input and control. Make the League better, not bigger." [CONTINUED]


Walanne Steele:
"Why I'm running."


Nov. 19, 2015 - "[I]f we spend the endowment to build, we will have significantly less income from the remaining endowment's investment to keep tuition low and to meet any shortfall that could arise. Just because you want to undertake a project does not mean that you can afford to do it. We need to raise money through an ambitious development plan and we need to have a sound business model as well. Both are now sadly lacking." [CONTINUED]


A Cheerful and Lively Little Oasis
for Artists on the Island of Manhattan


Dec. 1, 2015 - "The League didn't literally save my life, but it made life much more than just bearable. For the first time I was in the company of people like me who were not consumed with "getting and spending." Inside our sanctuary, in the studios and in conversations at the cafeteria tables, we lived for our art and knew that it was the highest calling we could ever hope to find in this crazy, market-driven world." [CONTINUED]




Dear Art Students League Member,

The League's historic standing as a self-governed, self-supporting institution, founded in 1875 on the principle of a participatory democracy, is in grave danger of foundering. We are deeply concerned about the future of this unique institution, whose original purpose was to "give a thorough course of instruction in drawing, painting and sculpture" for anyone who wanted to study art (Constitution). The sense of collegiality that formerly existed between art students, Instructors and Administrators, in an "open-door" policy, has disappeared and been replaced with autocratic rule, which has included hiring armed guards for members' meetings. [CONTINUED]



Over the past 10 years, one man and his supporters have controlled the Board of Control of the ASL. The current President has ruled by fiat, making up the rules as he goes along. There have been efforts to intimidate and stifle any dissent. Established as a membership-run institution, the input and oversight of members has been drastically curtailed. The direction of the League has changed dramatically. It is time for a change back to a membership-run League. [CONTINUED]




Response to Mr. Barbieri's November 30 E-mail (12/2/15)
"Mr. Barbieri claims that the lawsuit which was filed was done to overturn the will of the "overwhelming membership vote." That is exactly the point of the lawsuit - the membership included all 4,000 members who were entitled to vote. By twisting the meaning of By-law 31, and then denying members entitled to vote that privilege through spurious means, the outcome was not, as he puts it, an overwhelming majority vote."

Are you the same Mr. Cenedella? (12/2/15)
"And how, Mr. Cenedella, did you get access to confidential student information and then disseminate it in violation of League rules (a dismissible offense) and Federal law?"

Mr. Torak and anonymous "instructors and friends" of ASL (12/1/15)
"By-law No. 28 was enacted to prevent coercion of people who are beholding to the Board for their jobs. Whether an employee is asked to electioneer or not is irrelevant. The prohibition in By-law No. 28 is absolute, no electioneering by employees - period."

Regarding The Art Students League's Original Mission (11/29/15)
"The proposed changes to voting procedures and term limits ensure that the membership will not have a voice again. When asked why the proposed changes are necessary, Mr. Salvatore Barbieri said, "it is needed to help maintain continuity." That response is obtuse. It does not address whose continuity it maintains and for what purpose."

My Experience at the Art Students League (11/29/15)
"I asked at the office for the documents, and I discovered that it was very difficult to have access to the documents. I wondered why. I could not believe that something so important for the membership to know about was so overprotected. Ultimately, the members should know what is/was happening so they can vote knowing the facts."

Response to Brian Tepper (11/28/15)
At first glance your letter appears altruistic. But I ask you, does your concern extend to students, some of whom have spoken to me recently of their anxiety over potentially losing their monitorships, jobs, and being blacklisted from receiving scholarships or attending certain classes, due to their support of ASL 2025?

Six answers to Mr. Tepper's questions (11/24/15)
We have no plans to dismiss anyone. There has always been an ebb and flow to the make-up of the League. If we ensure that there are qualified instructors that reflect a multiplicity of viewpoints, artists will attend as they have in the past. Changes in faculty always happen for one reason or another - retirement, relocation, job change.

ASL Member Marilyn Rogers: Questions to ask before you vote (11/24/15)
New Leadership can give the League a boost in the right direction, prove themselves as worthy of your sustained support and give us a new start within one year as your CURRENT By-Laws wisely recommend.

What John Varriano Didn't Tell You In His E-mail (11/23/15)
He does not point to a set of specific facts that we have gotten wrong, nor does he respond to any of our very specific narratives about misconduct. Also, he tells about positive improvements by the Board and that much good has been accomplished, but cites no specifics.

ASL 2025 Responds to Mr. Barbieri's E-mail of November 16 (11/23/15)
It is thanks to the members who protested the initial contract that we received the additional $6 million dollars for the cantilever. Instead of demonizing these members, Mr. Barbieri should be thanking them.

ASL 2025 Responds to Mr. Barbieri's November 19 E-mail (11/23/15)
Since ASL 2025 is the only side in this election campaign that is talking about League governance, maybe it's time for Mr. Barbieri and his supporters to reply to all of the factual issues we have raised and will be presenting in the coming days.

ASL Member Jose Morales Responds to Dan Gheno (11/16/15)
Instead of addressing point by point all the issues in question, this administration creates a smoke screen. They suggest that Ira can walk on water, while quoting Macbeth, meanwhile attacking the real friends and protectors of the League.

An Open Letter to Tom Torak (11/16/15)
The last time I looked, open and honest disagreement was not only allowed but encouraged as a duty and privilege in a democratic America.

Is the League College-Bound? (11/11/15)
League Special Consultant for Academic Affairs and Outreach: "New positions were created and new hires were made. None of these changes were visible to the students or instructors working within the League's traditional open studio environment."

ASL 2025 Responds to Ira Goldberg (11/9/15)
Members are unaware of plans for educational expansion and only learn of them when new academic programs are published on the League's website.

ASL 2025 Responds to Susan Matz (11/8/15)
Matz: "If you don't feel comfortable voting for me, vote for one of the other opposing candidates." We wonder if Ms. Matz's candidacy was ever real.

An Open Letter to Sharon Sprung (11/6/15)
The League's original mission of allowing artists and artists-to-be to work inside a studio with artist instructors is clearly being diluted. The nature of the League is changing for reasons we don't understand. The membership, to whom the Board is ultimately responsible, has not been consulted as to whether they approve of these changes..

An Open Letter to Board Member Richard Baker (11/4/15)
We have spoken to many members, and none of them have ever received a certified audited financial statement at an Annual Meeting that complies with the mandates of N.Y.S. Not-For-Profit Corporation Law Section 519(a).

ASL 2025 Responds to Dan Gheno (11/3/15)
Recently, a Full Stop Work Order was issued by the Department of Buildings against the developer when a steel plate fell 30 feet and landed between the construction site and our building.




Transparency
Governance