Soup Kitchen & Town Hall Meeting

Contributed by: Chicago/Midwest

The full title of the event was ASMP Chicago Midwest Soup Kitchen & Town Hall Meeting On Surviving This Economy (because failure is not an option).

Description of program: Panel discussion, with audience participation, on how the (then) recent collapse of the economy is affecting our businesses with perspectives from three individual photographers, Gene Mopsik (ASMP Exec Dir) on what he’s hearing through his grapevine of 6000+ ASMP members, and an art buyer on how the ad agency biz has been affected and the effect that has had on his hiring of photographers.

Titled to reflect references to the situation & current trends with a dash of humor, symbolizing hope. “Soup Kitchen” references the Great Depression of the 1930s, “Town Hall Meeting” denotes the structure of the program to include everyone and is in tune with the (then) recent advent of old style local meetings as popularized in the past election cycle, “because failure is not an option” is in parentheses as a humorous afterthought but reflecting the gravity of the situation: a battle against the elements where the stakes are highest.

How many people were needed to produce the meeting, and what were their tasks?
I produced this program alone but in consultation with our local board of directors. A few phone calls: secure the panelists, arrange catering, secure the venue (Columbia College), and line up the speakers. On site, we had four volunteers for set-up and clean-up.

Describe the type of location needed for the meeting.
An amphitheater-type auditorium with an additional room for the catered social hour (incl peripheral seating).

Break down the costs associated with putting on this type of meeting.
Catering was about $425. The phone calls had negligible cost.

Describe the attendance and the fee structure used for this meeting.
Attended by approximately 80 people (that’s about of the chapter membership). Free admission.

What was done to market or publicize the meeting?
E-mail and posters placed at local photographic suppliers, fliers.

Was this a public meeting or a chapter only meeting?

Is there anything else we should know about this meeting and why it was so successful?
The meeting was a success in three ways:

  1. Emphasized that chapter leadership is aware of members’ precarious financial situation owing to the economy and actually cares about it (showing empathy);
  2. Brings the community together to emphasize our credo of “photographers helping photographers” and a sense of ‘we’re all in this together;’
  3. Acts as a magnet to draw new members to the organization, the draw being there’s security in numbers as well as evidence that we’re an empathetic community worthy of their trust.