In 1948, a group of students and faculty at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts founded the NESA. Two years after the organization was formed, NESA sponsored the first organized outdoor exhibit of sculpture in New England on the Museum School grounds. Adams, elected in 2019, was the first woman president of the Association.
Although she had little experience with non-profit business management, she could see the organization needed a framework that would outlast any one president’s tenure, to set a process that would ensure continuity between boards for generations to come. It also became clear that NESA needed to become an outward-facing part of the community at large in order to succeed. In Adams’ mind, heightening the community’s awareness of sculpture as a critical part of local life was a top priority.
As artists clamored for more exhibition opportunities, Adams saw a chance to fulfill both the wishes of the membership and her own goals for the organization. She began to reach out and plan shows, and then – COVID-19. All shows were canceled or postponed. Adams, however, saw the silver lining: “We on the board were gifted with quiet time for internal, behind-the-scenes work. We emerged from the darkest depths of COVID with a shiny, almost new organization.”
After three fruitful years, Adams will step down from her role as president at the end of 2022. She has fulfilled her goals of organizing and bringing NESA and sculpture to the forefront, making this historic group a successful (and financially viable) organization once more. “It is time for a new board with fresh ideas to create and to manifest their vision, but now they can do so freely, without needing to constantly spend energy on hammering out operational details,” Adams notes. NESA welcomes its new leadership with a fresh face, organized archives, thorough documentation, fully operational online platforms, and clear-cut procedures that will ensure that “Good luck!” is just a bonus.