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For the Record

Deborah Hazlett, art director of TD&T, designed this elegant bookplate for copies of The Designs of Jules Fisher which were distributed to more than 200 university and college libraries as gifts from Mr. Fisher's associates.

How Time Flies When You’re Having Fun!

C. Lance Brockman

I first attended a USITT Conference & Stage Expo in Kansas City, actually Overland Park on the Kansas side, in 1980 and now, with our return for the gala 30 years later, there are some obvious changes both to the Institute and for me. Much of what I have to say may seem apparent to the long-standing members, but those who have recently joined – these observations are for you.

Like many, for me those first Conferences were filled with the allure of the exhibit floor, the reconnection with past classmates, teachers, and colleagues you haven’t seen since… and, of course, an occasional session. As you mature in the organization, you begin to realize that there are some deeper purposes that are not always apparent but fulfill the larger mission. Much of my research in historic scenic art and painting has been refined, articulated, and supported by the collective need of the Institute to document and disseminate information that supports our field of design and technology (see our Mission and Vision statements in your Directory).

As my research and career developed, it became apparent that I had crossed the threshold of taking from USITT and it was now time to give back – to reinvest energy in the Institute that so unselfishly provided necessary and timely support. Two avenues or committees have fulfilled that need – Grants & Fellowships, which supports a myriad of members’ research in our field, and Publications, which helps disseminate the results of that research through many channels.

Recently, I have been so impressed and proud of Publications’ venture in publishing the Monograph Series articulating the careers of seminal figures who have shaped our field. Much of the energy required to take this bold step was the result of the tremendous efforts of Del Unruh and Bobbi Owen. The most recent publication (2009) is The Designs of Jules Fisher. Through the generous donations of his design assistants, this seminal work is now in the libraries over 200 college and universities across the United States.

This one gesture is further evidence that the Institute has transcended beyond our membership needs while providing an important link to future generations. Students and scholars alike will benefit in ways we cannot predict by this one magnanimous gesture. As we envision our next 50 years, this model disseminating our history and artistry to the public should be a major focus amplified in our vision and through increased financial support.

For me, the three decades of involvement in USITT has provided a myriad of opportunities to grow as a teacher, artist, and scholar. For the investment in my interests or needs and for the opportunity to give back, all I can humbly say is, “Thanks!”

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