A Q&A With IDAL President:
Where Does the Organization Go From Here?

 
IDAL will continue its long-term focus on education.

Four initials that have great importance to those in decorative arts profession are IDAL. That stands for the International Decorative Artisans League. This professional organization has undergone several transformations during its three-decade history.

The editors at Focus on Faux checked in with Lyna Farkas just as she was completing her term as IDAL president and passing her role onto incoming president Glenda Mosley. Lyna provided us with an update on the league’s status and what artists can expect from IDAL in the future.

Focus on Faux: For those who are unfamiliar with IDAL, let’s start with the basics. What is IDAL, and what is its role in the industry?

Lyna Farkas: We started out 30 years ago as a group of mostly women dedicated to the art of stenciling. The original name of the organization was SALI—the Stencil Artists League Inc.—and by 1986, we had become an official 501(c)(3) charitable educational organization. In 2008, we changed our name to the International Decorative Artists League to better reflect the expanding diversity of our membership. Currently, we are geared toward artisans who are working in the building industry, but we continue our original focus as an education organization.

Focus on Faux: What are some of your priorities right now?

Lyna Farkas: As an association, we are currently working toward several things, such as being a source of training and education for all experience levels, helping our members grow their businesses, providing resources for doing budgets, estimation and marketing, and other vital aspects of running a business. Our goal is to help our members be successful by educating as well as advocating on their behalf.

Focus on Faux: Can you describe what’s been happening with IDAL over the last two or three years?

Lyna Farkas: The economy hit us pretty hard, and we also lost our office staff, so we’re pretty much starting over. However, we have a working board of strong, dedicated professionals who are determined to put us back on the right track. Thanks to the generosity of Mark Golden of Golden Artist Colors, we will be starting the process of developing a more detailed strategic plan. We also are starting to develop a series of regional events with classes and opportunities for networking. We had one regional event this year in St. Louis, which was very successful, and we anticipate having three regionals next year (in 2016). We also voted in a new chapter forming in Colorado, so we’re excited about that.

Focus on Faux: How many chapters does IDAL currently have?

Lyna Farkas: We already had 13, so this newest one in Colorado makes 14. Our new chapter coordinator, Tamera Taylor, is reaching out to people and getting some excellent feedback. The chapters are sponsoring the regional events, which are providing education and also helping IDAL attract new members.

Focus on Faux: Where and when will the regional events take place in 2016?

IDAL's strength lies in members sharing with other members.

Lyna Farkas: We’ll be in San Antonio in April, Charlotte, N.C., in June and Minneapolis in either August or September. Also in 2016, we anticipate doing some sort of national year-end event. We’re not sure where it will be yet, but it will have both educational and social aspects. We also want to give suppliers the opportunity to get involved. Perhaps they can provide sponsorships or something along those lines.

Focus on Faux: How can artists join IDAL?

Lyna Farkas: Go to our website, www.decorativeartisans.org, and click on the “Join now!” button. If you happen to live in Colorado or any of the other locations where we have a chapter, we encourage you to go to a chapter meeting. You can actually go to two chapter meetings before joining IDAL.

Focus on Faux: So, you have to be a member of IDAL in order to be a member of a chapter?

Lyna Farkas: Yes. The amount that chapters charge depends upon the individual chapter and what kind of expenses they have—for instance, do they have to pay for their meeting space? Belonging to a chapter is an excellent way to network and make connections with other artists. Most chapters have a yearly local philanthropic project that members work on together. In addition to educational events, there are usually a variety of social activities. For instance, the Charlotte chapter has a picnic in the summer and a Christmas party.

 

Glenda Mosley, top, and Lyna Farkas are featured the "I am
IDAL" campaign.

Focus on Faux: Are there other activities that you want artists to know about?

Lyna Farkas: Every year, we have the Adele Bishop Award, named after the famed stenciler who was the guest speaker at the very first SALI convention. This is a chapter philanthropic award, and Jane Gauss, a co-founder of SALI, is judging it. Also, we’re making an effort to recruit younger members into IDAL. One way we’re doing this is with the IDAL Chapter Video Contest. We invited chapters to submit a 10- to 20-minute video presentation about the decorative arts, including information about the benefits of belonging to IDAL as well as giving a plug to their chapter. Our hope is that the videos will be utilized, for instance, by chapters taking them to their local colleges. The Student Outreach Committee will judge the videos on such factors as creativity, originality and effectiveness, and the winner will be featured on the IDAL website, newsletter and social media. The chapter that submitted the winning video will receive a free class with an instructor of their choosing, generously sponsored by Citadel Insurance. We’re also planning a nationwide branding campaign with the theme “I am IDAL,” highlighting artists with the goal of letting interior designers and others in the building trade know who we are and what we’re all about.

Focus on Faux: Can you describe some of your benefits? You mentioned Citadel Insurance, for instance.

Lyna Farkas: Yes. That is one of the biggest perks and benefits we offer to our members. We have this incredible insurance package with a good rate. Citadel is such a personable and professional group of people. They’ll go to bat for you and take care of any issue that arises.

Focus on Faux: Are there other benefits you’d like to mention?

Lyna Farkas: Well, one of the biggest benefits is the ability that IDAL gives you to network with your peers. That was really helpful when the economy was not doing so well. People could ask one another, “What did you do to get business and keep bread on your table?” We have Facebook group pages where people can share their experiences and ask for advice. “A client didn’t pay me. Has anyone had that happen?” Many of our members are able to get extra work through networking or even get into teaching through IDAL.

Focus on Faux: Can you describe some of your benefits? You mentioned Citadel Insurance, for instance.

Lyna Farkas: Yes. That is one of the biggest perks and benefits we offer to our members. We have this incredible insurance package with a good rate. Citadel is such a personable and professional group of people. They’ll go to bat for you and take care of any issue that arises.

Focus on Faux: Are there other benefits you’d like to mention?

Lyna Farkas: Well, one of the biggest benefits is the ability that IDAL gives you to network with your peers. That was really helpful when the economy was not doing so well. People could ask one another, “What did you do to get business and keep bread on your table?” We have Facebook group pages where people can share their experiences and ask for advice. “A client didn’t pay me. Has anyone had that happen?” Many of our members are able to get extra work through networking or even get into teaching through IDAL.

You can’t underestimate the advantage of belonging to a professional trade organization. It gives you more credibility with clients. There is one member we know of who was able to get a loan to buy a house because she was able to list her IDAL affiliation on her loan application, which showed she was serious about her profession. I think the main thing that IDAL does is to show a path toward becoming a successful artist. It helps people to know that there is an association out there that is dedicated to helping them grow their business.