Each year, after we wrap up Spectrum Fantastic Art Live (SFAL), we like to send out a well-deserved thanks to all of the attendees, exhibitors, Spectrum 22 nominees and awards winners, speakers and special guests for making the show a success. But who is “we?” I’d like to fill you in on who the hardworking individuals are that make up the SFAL team. With the show just three weeks away I think it’s a good time to highlight the special people who are currently active in bringing you this amazing art show.
I’d like to start with Shena Wolf, who seems to be exactly where she is most needed at all times. We haven’t been able to figure out how she does this yet. As Event Organizer, Shena is in charge of guest relations, the tiny emails that keep us all up to date (yes, even all of us here), and logistics relating to a variety of important matters. She even plays a large role in organizing the panels and workshops. Shena makes sure we all show up where we need to be. She generally makes us look good. That’s not all that she does, but it gives you an idea.
Amanda Banion runs registration and makes sure everyone is armed with an SFAL badge. This guarantees that everyone who is a guest or attendee has access to all places that matter most. She also coordinates and manages the volunteers for the show. Amanda’s background in film has made her our go-to person for AV advice and an invaluable asset behind-the-scenes during the awards ceremony.
Lazuras Potter manages the show website, works on regional event promotion with galleries, radio, and TV stations, and runs the infrastructure for the Spectrum 22 awards ceremony at the Folly Theater. The awards involve weeks of preparation and is no small task; it requires meticulous planning and close work with the theater staff, the presenters, Arlo Burnett (who creates the videos for the memorials and Grand Masters), and Helpful Bear Productions (who puts together the videos of the award finalists and winners). Most people don’t see Laz, but we are all grateful to have him.
Carl Anderson and Jeff Smith are grouped together since they make quite the team in assisting with panels. Whatever the speakers need to during their panel, Carl and Jeff make sure they have it. They also write and post news items on the SFAL website and elsewhere, visit with regional schools and colleges, and network with booksellers, comic shops, and RPG retailers, all in an effort to help spread the word about the show. They are always enthusiastic and have a ready smile to great and help anyone who asks.
The volunteers! Running an event requires the help of dozens of people who can handle the many tasks to make SFAL run smoothly. No matter how small the task that they assist with, each pair of extra hands is greatly appreciated. They play a large part in making sure we all have fun!
Arnie and Cathy Fenner do everything else! The countless details needed to run a show are identified and handled by our Spectrum founders. A three day show takes months of preparation as they manage hotel and convention hall arrangements, coordinate and arrange the exhibitor booths, outline the core tasks that need to be assigned and managed, select locations, arrange for after-event happenings, secure event guests and speakers, set schedules and implement their forty years of experience in the industry to inspire and motivate us all. It would take a few thousand words to touch upon the full range of details that they coordinate. Trust me when I say it is impressive what Cathy and Arnie continue to accomplish. We learn and are inspired by them with each new day. Also, they write a lot of checks!
This brings me to myself. I spend much of my time planning out the next year for Flesk, Spectrum and SFAL. For example, the task that happens today is oftentimes something that I initially conceived of anywhere from one to three years ago, or maybe more. I plan far into the future and have more patience than most when it comes to achieving the goals that I most want to hit. I place great importance on the creative side, future growth, team and business dynamics, core infrastructure for a sound and sustainable future, working toward an improved workplace for our employees with a mindful eye on how to incorporate better pay and benefits, a sound environment to help artists and the community, plus communicating with the artists, our crew and associates on a daily basis–these are some of the areas where much of my attention goes. Oh, and I want to make sure we have a new book or two and some bonus goodies to premiere at SFAL. I also like to invite artists to fill up our booth at the show. I don’t write as many checks as the Fenner’s, but the stripe on my credit card gets a little worn out.
No single individual runs SFAL. It’s a cumulative team effort by a dynamic, passionate and energetic group who understands that what we do here is not for praise, but for the benefit of the art community. We focus on our mission of being inclusive, welcoming of all and focusing on a positive experience where people can grow and leave knowing that they have created fresh connections that will result in new lifelong friends in the industry and beyond. We take great pride in what we do. We trust that our fourth SFAL will be as enjoyable for you as we know it will be for us.
Spectrum Fantastic Art Live runs from May 22-24, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for details.
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Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.