The Society of Decorative Painters | Chapter Happenings | Volume 7 Issue 4 December 2011

In this Issue

A message from Chapters Coordinator Becky Gray

Our 40th Annual Conference & Expo will again be held in SDP's hometown, Wichita, Kan. Start saving now for a wonderful experience! Airfares are reasonable, accommodations are luxurious and affordable, and plans are being finalized for a wonderful commemoration of forty years of painting.

Issue #4 of The Decorative Painter and the Conference Special are now on the website, and your copies have been mailed. This gives you time to choose your favorite class selections before registration begins on Wednesday, Jan. 4. I can't wait for you to see all the beautiful projects the May 14-19, 2012, 40th Anniversary Conference offers.

Chapter insurance certificates will begin mailing in mid-January if your insurance invoice has been paid. If you have any specific needs, such as certificates of insurance covering your meeting location, please email our insurance agents directly at or

We want to hear about all the great things that happened in your chapter this year. The 2011 Chapter Achievement Form should be postmarked by February 15, 2012 to be eligible for this award. Please include your 2011 membership roster if it was not included with your Annual Chapter Form.

Another requirement of the Chapter Achievement Award is filing your chapter's tax return by May 15, 2012. Mail SDP a copy of Form 990, 990-EZ or 990-N and your IRS receipt. The CAA form only requires that you already have sent it or will send it. I am enjoying getting to know many SDP members by phone and email. Remember, the entire SDP staff is here to help our members and chapters in any way we can.

Happy Holidays to you and yours,
Becky Gray Conference Director/Chapters Coordinator

Seminar Pricing Structures

Attending seminars is one of the terrific benefits of being a part of an SDP chapter. By collecting dues and money from fundraisers, chapters are able to subsidize the cost of seminars for their members. Many of our chapters open these seminars to other SDP members and the general public. This is a great way to raise seminar attendance and make new painting friends, but it does necessitate tiered pricing to make the most of the event. If the price is the same for all attendees, then the chapter members lose the incentive to pay dues and participate in fundraisers. Many SDP chapters have used a three-tiered pricing structure to great success, while others have found that a flat price has a negative effect on membership levels and seminar participation.

Set a low price for your chapter's members, set a mid-range price for SDP members who are not in your chapter, and then set a higher (but reasonable) price for the general public. This will give your members a reason to participate, and provide an incentive for non-members to join your chapter.

California Poppy Painters Christmas Sale

Over the last eighteen years, the California Poppy Painters have built a very successful fundraiser through hard work, perseverance, and a constant willingness to look for ways to improve. Their annual sale has grown larger every year through streamlining the process and working each year to build their local following. Over the last five years alone, sales from the three day event have grown from an impressive thirteen thousand dollars to over twenty-six thousand dollars. The chapter has built up a solid customer base through consistent and innovative marketing efforts and reliable, top notch quality. 

imageThe chapter members paint throughout the year to ensure that they have as much merchandise as possible for the sale. Each participating member pays $45 and 10% commission to participate, and non-members pay $135 and 10% commission. This year, thirty members were involved in the sale, with another thirteen outside vendors.

Always looking for ways to innovate, the chapter also puts together a raffle for the sale which this year brought in fifteen hundred dollars on its own. The raffle is also used as a marketing tool for the sale. The chapter places an ad in the local paper with a notice that anyone who brings in the ad will receive one raffle ticket to enter to image2win one of fifteen hand-painted pieces. This is a great incentive to get potential customers through the door, and has proved tremendously successful.

By planning out all the details and continuing to learn from the last eighteen years, the California Poppy Painters have turned this event into a fantastic fundraiser that subsidizes events and seminars for the members throughout the year.

Teamwork, positive attitudes, a focus on innovation, and a steady supply of beautifully painted artwork have enabled the chapter to create a dependable source of income for themselves and their members, while providing a great resource to their local community, hunting down the perfect gift for the holidays.

Learn to Paint: Wiregrass Decorative Painters

The Wiregrass Decorative Painters of Enterprise, Ala. have found a fantastic way to grow their membership with their annual "Learn to Paint" program. Now in its third year, the class has proved to be a successful way to expose decorative painting to their community and attract new members for the chapter and SDP.

The local library hosts the class, three teaching chapter members lead the class with three to four assistants, and they advertise at the library and through the local paper's events section. The group uses their own patterns, which change from time to time to keep things fresh for repeat students.

What makes the program so successful is a combination of careful planning and teamwork. The class is held at the beginning of the year, when new members are most excited to join. By teaching at the library, students feel relaxed and welcomed into a familiar environment. Working with several teachers has proved to be a good choice as the students are able to get a range of perspectives as they learn, and the load is never too much on one teacher.

The chapter charges for the class, but just enough to cover materials. While profits from the class are nominal, the chapter has gained several new members from every course, which has had a significant impact on their membership growth over the three years.

Learn to Paint: Sierra Nevada Decorative Artists

image3The Sierra Nevada Decorative Artists have also implemented a successful "Learn to Paint" program for their chapter. Each October, as part of International Decorative Painting Month, the chapter members install an exhibit of their artwork at a local library. During the month of the show, the chapter offers an all-costs-covered "Learn to Paint" class to the public. The 2011 art show and class were held at the Washoe County Sparks, Nev. library. The community responded well; the class had fifteen participants who were delighted to find that they, too, can learn to paint. Each participant left with a handmade ornament to share with their friends and family. In response to the class, four new members joined the chapter and SDP. The chapter had great success in raising excitement through the art show and sharing their love of decorative painting through the class. Using International Decorative Painting month as a boost, the show and class worked seamlessly to promote decorative painting, the chapter, and SDP together.

SDP is now developing a six week course and marketing/business plan for the "Learn to Paint" program. The best way to grow membership is by teaching your community to paint, and SDP will be providing plans, curriculum, projects, and support for this program to all of our chapters in 2012.

Southern Gardenia Artists lend a hand to Camp Braveheart

Camp Braveheart of Baton Rouge, La. is an organization that helps children who have been removed from their homes. The camp uses art therapy to help the children work out their feelings by creating. Through painting and making crafts, the children are able to openly express themselves about subjects which they aren't always able to talk about out loud.

Knowing the importance of art therapy, the Southern Gardenia Tolers of Louisiana decided to help. The chapter is now holding regular supply drives to ensure that the camp remains well stocked, and that the children always have a resource of supplies to work with. The chapter members have materials needed for their art, and what a wonderful way to make use of their resources.

Southern Maryland Decoratve Painters Chapter Art Show

The Southern Maryland Decorative Painters recently hosted a juried art show at the Charlotte Hall Library of Charlotte Hall, Md., exhibiting the work of fifteen chapter members. Over one hundred attendees came to the opening and participated in voting for their favorites in each of the entry categories. Response from the public was overwhelmingly positive, as reported by the chapter president Cordy Dickson. "Our work is so outstanding that people can't believe it was done by hand and that anyone can do it. We enjoy practicing our work and perfecting it. We need to take real pride in what we do and appreciate those around us that who do it, too."

Creating excitement for decorative painting always proves easy as it is both beautiful to view and approachable by anyone. Exhibiting high quality work helps to get current members excited to paint more ambitious projects, and it introduces the general public to a form of painting they never knew about and want to try.

The show featured fifty-one pieces, spread over seven categories: Landscape, Animals and Birds, Nautical, Strokework, Still Life, Christmas, Floral, and Seasons. Awards were given for the winner of each category, as well as for People's Choice Award and Member's Choice Award.

Flights of Fancy: Conference 2012

Class and event listings for "Flights of Fancy" Conference 2012 are now available online.

Soup Recipes from your SDP Presidents

Sue Bower's Tortellini Soup

  • 3 cans italian stewed tomatoes (14oz)
  • 3 cans beef broth
  • 2 tsp. basil
  • 3 links italian sausage (casing removed)
  • 1 Lg. can Allen's italian cut green beans
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pkg. tortellini noodles ~ 3 cheese (refrigerator section)

Saute sausage & onion.  Add tomatoes, broth and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, then add green beans, zucchini & tortellini. Simmer until fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Served topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese. This soup is actually better the next day. I actually cook the italian sausage and onion and then toss everything into the crockpot and let it cook for the day.

Nancy Genetti's Ranch Soup

  • 1 lb. ground hamburger
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small can chopped green chilies (mild)
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can green beans
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can cream-style corn
  • 1 can Cajun-style tomatoes
  • 1 c. sliced carrots (or one can sliced carrots)
  • 1 can ranch Style beans 1 c. picante sauce (mild)
  • 1 lb. Velveeta Cheese, cut into small pieces

Do not drain any of the canned vegetables. Brown ground meat, onion, green chilies and garlic powder. Set aside. In large stockpot, combine the celery soup, chicken soup, green beans, whole kernel and cream style corn, tomatoes, carrots, and ranch beans. Simmer and add meat mixture. When ready to serve, add picante sauce and Velveeta cheese pieces. Simmer until cheese is melted.

  • About Chapter Happenings

  • Chapter Happenings is published periodically by the Society of Decorative Painters (SDP) for members of its affiliated chapters. Do you have a story, photo or idea for Chapter Happenings? E-mail Becky at
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