IMMEDIATE FUNDRAISING Campaign Announcement:

The groups CVA Action and Save CVA have been waiting for the opportunity to jump in and help the College of Visual Arts stay open. This is it- your call to action is NOW.

On January 16, 2013 the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul Minnesota announced that it will close its doors forever on June 30, 2013. CVA Action quickly organized, gained nonprofit status, nominated a board, met with CVA Board of Trustees and is now in the process of creating a turnaround plan for the College of Visual Arts.

The CVA Action Board was recently made aware of an IMMEDIATE need for us to raise substantial funds by Thursday, Feb 21, at noon. The college is facing an urgent situation. Full details we have obtained from the CVA Board of trustees are confidential; however, what we can say is essentially that if this situation not addressed by us now, it will prohibit CVA Action from making any further meaningful progress to keep CVA open. The CVA Action Board has unanimously decided that this is the best and most trustworthy action we can take to keep the school open- rest assured we are not financing a closing of the school.

We know this is short notice- so we are asking for you all to take action today to help save CVA tomorrow. What we are asking for is that the 1500 or so followers of Save CVA and CVA Action each go to the CVA Action website www.cvaaction.org and if each person averages a donation of $333 by Feb. 21 at noon through the website we can avert this crisis.  We know that some of you care deeply, but will be unable to donate this amount, but please do what you can. Therefore, if you are in a position to donate more, it will help. For donations over $1,000, please contact our treasurer, at dkbressler@hotmail.com.  Time is of the essence- if we fail to raise the funds by then, we feel that our entire effort may fail. If we cannot raise the target funds, your donation will be refunded minus reasonable operating expenses and fees.

Your donation will be tax deductible for the 2013 tax year, as 501(c)3 status is pending.

This is only the emergency phase of our fundraising plan. All should be aware that CVA Action has a multi phase plan in place- such as partnering with professional fundraising consultants, as well as a Foundation, to continue the fundraising efforts outside of our memberships.  Ultimately our goal includes raising $3 million dollars in six months.  For further questions, please see contact info on our webpage. Thank you for considering your donation and thank you for trusting in CVA Action’s efforts.

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CVA Action public meeting, Saturday Feb. 23 at noon

Want to know more about CVA Action? Come to our public meeting on Saturday at Western. Also Don’t forget about our Immediate Fundraising Campaign! Donate $333 or whatever you can by Thursday noon!

CVA Action public meeting Saturday,
February 23, 2013, Noon
Location: College of Visual Arts Western Building


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For Immediate Release

February 12, 2013–, On January 16, 2013 the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul Minnesota announced that it will close its doors forever on June 30, 2013. CVA Action quickly organized, gained nonprofit status, nominated a board, met with CVA Board of Trustees and is now in the process of creating a turnaround plan for the College of Visual Arts.

The announcement of the school’s closure came as a surprise not only to CVA students, staff, and faculty, but to the greater community as well. In response, many student, alumni and community groups formed immediately, as did CVA Action. Within days of the school’s announcement, a Facebook group called “Save CVA” accumulated nearly 1,400 members; this is but one example of the strong and immediate response to news of the school’s financial and operational challenges.

CVA Action is optimistic about CVA’s future even if the CVA Board of Trustees and administration may not have been able to see a different outcome for the college. On January 22, CVA hosted a meeting for its students that provided a whisper of hope delivered by Michael Knight of Alliance Consulting. During his address to the CVA student body he stated that the College of Visual Arts is a critical community resource and there is still “some life in it.” As Mr. Knight explained, “Sometimes you decide to close something even when there is some life in it because you can’t see a different outcome.”

As the College of Visual Arts Board of Trustees Chairman, James Rubenstein, stated during the above-referenced assembly, “If one or more angels…came along, we would certainly look at that…with enough money, a large endowment, there would be hope. We [on the Board of Trustees] would love that.”

CVA Action is dedicated to thoroughly explore turnaround options and solicit assistance and advice from local government representatives, business leaders, philanthropists, neighborhood groups, alumni and possible angels. CVA Action believes that the College of Visual Arts is a viable and culturally rich institution that should not be dissolved. CVA Action urges the community to visit www.cvaaction.org to learn more about their efforts, events and ideas.

Notable CVA Action developments:

  • CVA Action filed as nonprofit organization on January 28, 2013
  • Election of 8-member Board of Directors on January 29, 2013: Bios at http://cvaaction.org/who-we-are/
  • CVA Action Board members met with the full time College of Visual Arts faculty and department chairs, as well as staff members on February 5, 2013. The visit resulted in the following letter of support from the CVA Faculty.
  • It is with great enthusiasm, and a good deal of relief that we, as the College of Visual Arts full time faculty and program coordinators, add our support and endorsement to the efforts and stated goals of CVA Action.

    We look forward to productive coordination of activities, and transparent communication, with this organization and others focused on the best interests of the various CVA communities reacting to the closing of the college.

    John DuFresne, Academic Dean, Professor and Chair, Graphic Design
    Valerie Jenkins, Associate Professor and Chair, Fine Arts
    Julie L’Enfant, Professor and Chair, Liberal Arts
    Jessika Madison-Kennedy, Fashion Design Program Coordinator
    Lynda Monick-Isenberg, Professor and Chair, Foundation Studies
    James O’Brien, Assistant Professor and Chair, Illustration
    Maria Santiago, Professor and Printmaking Coordinator
    Ellen Skoro, Assistant Professor and Chair, Photography
    Steve Stenzel, Assistant Professor, Photo & Foundation

    • CVA Action board members met with the College of Visual Arts Board of Trustees members (Jim Rubenstein, Andrea Specht, Becky Richardson and Judith Beck) as well as Mike Knight of Alliance Management, and Sue Short (CVA’s Interim President) on February 7, 2013. On February 2, CVA Action formed a Finance Review committee to examine the College of Visual Arts’ finances as part of the effort to create a turnaround plan for the college. The CVA Board of Trustees has given permission for CVA Action to have that access. On February 9, 2013 CVA Action members unanimously approve the formation of the committee: CVA 2024 (as per the college’s forthcoming 100-year anniversary in 2024). This committee is charged with creating a turnaround plan and new business model for the College of Visual Arts. The CVA Board of Trustees stated that they hope CVA Action will succeed in its effort to save the college from closure.
    • CVA Action acknowledges that students should proceed with transfer plans and meeting application deadlines in the immediate future while these turn-around efforts are underway.

    Learn more about CVA Action:

    Upcoming CVA Action Events:

    • CVA Action public meeting Saturday,
      February 23, 2013, Noon
      Location: TBD
      www.cvaaction.org
    • Save CVA Benefit Show
      Friday, March 1, 2013, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
      Amsterdam Bar & Hall
      6 W 6th St St. Paul, MN
      Featuring music by CVA Alumni: Roe Family Singers and The Tim Malloys $10.00 cover charge at the door. Proceeds go toward the effort to keep CVA open. http://cvaaction.org/category/events/

    CVA Action Mission Statement:

    CVA Action is a group of concerned alumni, students, faculty, and community members dedicated to searching out and presenting alternative solutions to the closing of the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul, MN. CVA Action works to provide a bridge between community and institution: facilitating discussion, providing mediation, fundraising, and fostering healthy partnership between CVA and its community supporters. CVA Action believes that the College of Visual Arts is a viable and culturally rich institution that should not be dissolved

    Contact:

    Ed Charbonneau, Vice President Communication, CVA Action Board of Directors ed.charbonneau@gmail.com, 651-260-4784

Testimonial: Jamey Erickson, CVA alum 2004

Growing up in rural Minnesota, going to “art school” wasn’t something that was done. You maybe went to a University that had an art program, but art school’s just weren’t something you would consider.

In the fall of 1998 I decided to take a risk and visit a couple of these art schools I’d managed to find online. I made the trip up to visit two of them in the same day, and after being told to “come back when I was serious about pursuing art” by one, we nearly turned around and drove home after pulling up to see the next school was merely a house on Summit Ave in St. Paul. Something felt right, though, and we decided to go inside. Almost instantly I fell in love with the building and the community within and around the school became very apparent. I couldn’t sign the dotted line fast enough.

Continue reading Testimonial: Jamey Erickson, CVA alum 2004

Testimonial: Susan Eckwright, alum 1970

I graduated from SAA* in 1970. The smaller class sizes, and teacher response to the students had a feeling of an understanding of the technical and personal development of the student. With the education came a need to be responsible for monetary needs. Many had summer jobs that helped develope their skills.

*Note: The College of Visual Arts used to be named School of Associated Arts –Editor

Documentary series CVA Voice tells the story of the College of Visual Arts through those closest to it

Testimonial: Kolean Pitner, CVA faculty

CVA is the scrappy, underdog art school in Saint Paul. Our students, like CVA, are quirky, resourceful, and imaginative. They love the extended family feel of this unique college and the first class education they receive.

Skillful teachers, engaged students, and a rigorous curriculum combine in a supportive setting to develop the critical thinkers and creative problem solvers of tomorrow. Although CVA’s facilities aren’t fancy, its teachers (most of whom are practicing professionals with deep ties to the Twin Cities creative community) have high expectations and instill a “we can do it” spirit that reaches both the heads and the hearts of CVA’s students.

Continue reading Testimonial: Kolean Pitner, CVA faculty

Testimonial: Kirsten Bjore Guerrero, CVA alum 2003

After earning an Associate’s degree from the University of Alaska, my incredibly supportive family helped pack up my car so I could leave home to find an art school that would help me achieve my dream.

When I arrived in St. Paul my grandma said, “Oh honey, let’s go see that school on Summit Avenue. Your mamma wanted to go there.” As soon as we set foot on the lawn, I knew that was it. Every person we met at CVA was welcoming, the facilities were beautiful, and the program was exactly what I had been searching for.

Continue reading Testimonial: Kirsten Bjore Guerrero, CVA alum 2003

Testimonial: Christopher Nelson, community member

I am a public school teacher for St. Paul Public Schools. I have hosted a College of Visual Arts (CVA) student for about 8 years. Every year, a vibrant, enthusiastic and talented person comes to my fifth grade classroom. They are eager to connect with the students and share their expertise in a variety of artistic modems. And every year, this CVA student helps my students (and me) learn something amazing in artistic expression. We’ve built textured maps, created fantastic graphic novels and learned the subtleties of drawing portraits. All with the intention of expanding understanding of an academic subject like social studies, for example.

Continue reading Testimonial: Christopher Nelson, community member

Testimonial: Christopher Ward, CVA alum 2009

I spent three years at another four year art and design school before attending CVA. At the time I had a lot of personal issues going on and it reflected in my performance at school. I was asked to leave and not come back until I proved myself worthy of the school. I tried a few times with no personal growth and was rejected each time. I was hurt but used that for reflection and determination.

Continue reading Testimonial: Christopher Ward, CVA alum 2009