The state of the Art League

Art League column
By: Paul Apfel Special to The News Messenger
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The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has officially recognized Art League of Lincoln as a federal tax exempt organization in a notice mailed to the art league last August.
According to IRS regulations, that tax exempt status dates back to March 27, 2012, which was the date of the Art League’s incorporation in California.
State exemption sought
The Art League has filed an application with the state of California’s Franchise Tax Board for similar tax exempt status. As California typically rubber-stamps such applications after the IRS grants approval, we expect a positive response, which we understand will be forthcoming in three to 60 days.
Although the Art League has been a nonprofit organization since its March incorporation, the IRS recognition formally confers tax exempt status. This means that, in most cases, the Art League will pay no federal income taxes, although it is required to file an annual tax return. And donors receive a benefit as well.
According to the IRS, donors may receive favorable tax consideration for their contributions to the Art League. In a separate IRS letter, the federal agency noted, “Donors may deduct contributions to you as provided in Section 170 of the Code. Bequests, legacies, devises, transfers or gifts to you or for your use are deductible for federal estate and gift tax purposes if they meet the applicable provisions of sections 2055, 2106 and 2522 of the Code.”
Membership growing
According to Art League Vice President and membership chairman Mike Daley, membership numbers stand at 258. Annual memberships normally run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, but this year, we are making 2013 memberships available on Nov. 1, allowing new members 14 months for the price of 12.
Need for a home persists
The Art League is still working on finding a permanent building for a gallery and administrative space. The city-owned building at 580 Sixth St. is one option and we are in discussions with the city for that site. However, other options, including buildings privately-owned would be considered.
All things Clay
The internationally acclaimed annual ceramics art show that used to be a spring-time feature in Lincoln will be held again next year. But there are some important changes.
Readers may remember that in February of this year, Lincoln Arts unexpectedly announced it was closing the doors. With that action, the event known for 24 years as Feats of Clay was cancelled for 2012, which would have been the event’s 25th anniversary.
In one of its final acts, Lincoln Arts also transferred ownership of the trademarked name, Feats of Clay to Placer Arts.
Art League of Lincoln was formed to restore arts to its prominence in the community. One goal for this new organization was to promote and stage the annual ceramics art event. Given the planning and preparation required to stage the competition, we quickly determined that we could not conduct an event on any scale approaching those of previous years. So Lincoln saw no ceramics art show in 2012.
Although we vigorously pursued the goal of regaining the Feats of Clay name for future ceramic shows in Lincoln, negotiations with Placer Arts broke down. The Art League of Lincoln Board of Directors decided to select a new name for the ceramics show and devote its full planning energies for the 2013 competition. The new event will be called America’s ClayFest.
Agreements with Gladding, McBean to host the show and reception have been completed and planning is in full swing.
Special gift certificates for the reception, tour tickets and Lincoln merchant discount booklet will be available for holiday gift=giving and will be on sold at our table at the Lincoln Boulevard Celebration on Saturday or call 316-6173.
Committee chairs in place
Recognizing the importance and complexity of planning and staging the America’s ClayFest competition and exhibit, the board of directors selected three co-chairs to direct planning and operations.
Board member Ray Gonzales, the designer and organizing force behind the original Feats of Clay celebration 24 years ago, is partnering with board and corporate Vice President Mike Daley, himself a talented ceramist.
Joining them is Cathie Szabo, an Art League member with extensive experience planning and organizing prior Feats of Clay shows.
The America’s ClayFest reception is now planned for Saturday, April 20, 2013. The art exhibits and factory tours of Gladding, McBean will be conducted Thursdays to Sundays, April 25 to May 26 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Special art only and photographer tours will be available.
Calls for artists have been issued in several regional and national publications. Co-chairman Mike Daley has recently announced that two artists have already signed up and we’ve had inquiries from Africa, Pakistan and New Zealand.
Members’ meet next month
The Art League will host its first annual members’ meeting on Nov.13 at Beerman’s upstairs hall. Included on the agenda is the election of the board of directors to guide the corporation over the next two years. Doors will open at 5 p.m.
Currently, seven Art League members sit on the board of directors. All are running for election to the board that will assume office on Jan.1, 2013 for two-year terms.
An independent nominating committee has selected three additional members for election, bringing the slate to be presented to the membership next month to 10.
Formal notification of the annual meeting with biographies for those to be considered for election will be e-mailed within the next few days.
We encourage Art League members to reserve Nov. 13 as an opportunity to participate in this historic inaugural annual meeting.

Paul Apfel is president of the Art League of Lincoln. Contact the Art League at