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Tuesday, September 6, 2011


When I began to consider a career as a fine art appraiser I was advised by someone in the art field to join one of the other three professional appraisal organizations. It was one that this person deemed to be more esteemed for appraising fine art. Valuing this professional’s advice, I took it under consideration but joined the International Society of Appraisers in the end.
I’m often asked by individuals in the art field why I joined ISA as opposed to one of the other appraising organizations. My most honest answer is I was attracted to the openness of ISA members and the fact that ISA has strong and active local chapters. The opportunity to meet and develop relationships with appraisal professionals in your area can’t be understated.  I have found other members to be helpful, friendly and encouraging.  I can’t imagine trying to appraise full time without having trusted colleagues to consult with occasionally.  
Getting to know the other members in your organization allows you as an individual member to become involved in your organization first on a local level and then on the national level. Overall, I chose ISA because in the end because I had more opportunity to participate and “get out of the organization what I put into to it”.
I believe that an organization is only as good as the members who belong to it.  Each one of us has a responsibility to reflect well on our organization by presenting ourselves to the public and our clients as professionally and specifically trained and educated in our area of expertise as possible. I also believe the organization stays strong and healthy through the volunteer efforts of its members in various positions and tasks in the organizations. If we all don’t do our part, the organization suffers and we have no one to blame but ourselves.
As Chair of the Fine Art Division I volunteer my time to help make our organization responsive to the needs of the Fine Art Appraising members. One of the more enjoyable tasks I have with this position is helping to place speakers for the annual conference. This allows me to have a real voice in what topics we hear and who comes to speak at conference based on input that members have provided me through past conference meetings, questionnaires and personal correspondence.  Two threads of thought most requested by FA members is quality of speakers and subjects that are relevant to our daily work. If members are going to sacrifice time away from the office and money to travel they want to return feeling like they’ve learned something. It is quite a challenge to find speakers for 4-5 breakout sessions on such a limited budget which meets the needs for so many diverse specialty areas and years of experience.
I am really excited about the speakers we have lined up for the 2012 Annual Conference in Tempe, AZ. Rather than specialty area topics, all speakers will focus on various methodology topics which I hope all level of appraisers will find useful.  Topics will include: What’s New in Art Research and How to Use the Findings; Auction Houses and Galleries: How do They ValueInspection and Condition: How Does it Impact Value; and Connoisseurship: What is it and How Can it Help the AppraiserIt has been a real pleasure working on the conference with my committee and various other volunteer committees. I have really enjoyed getting to know more appraisers within ISA and learning from them. I hope that you all will attend Conference this next year. It promises to be terrific!!
Christine Guernsey, ISA AM
ISA Fine Art Chair, 2011

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