Adapting & Connecting in 2020: A Letter from Chapter President Cynthia Williams

As we enter the sixth month of living with COVID-19, I hope you and your loved ones are well. September 1st marks one hundred sixty-one days since Ohio Governor DeWine issued the “stay-at-home” order to control the spread of the virus. Right now, the strict “stay-at-home” order has been lifted, while other protocols such as mask wearing and social distancing remain in place. New guidance and new data emerge daily. Most of us, thankfully, have remained healthy while learning to navigate new ways of working and new daily routines. This moment has demanded our personal and professional creativity, flexibility, and patience, as we continue to safely serve our clients and our communities.

Like you, AIA Cincinnati has adjusted the way we deliver programs and services, holding all programs virtually through 2020. This has allowed us to increase the number of offerings. In one hundred sixty-one days (one hundred fifteen days if you don’t count weekends), we’ve hosted forty-one programs, including thirty-one continuing education credit hours; thirty-six AIA Cincinnati programs were free for AIA members. Over nine hundred people have attended our local programs. In addition, we’ve provided access to programs throughout Ohio and across the country, including AIA chapters in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Houston, Indiana, and Kentucky, as well as AIA National. We have also shared continuing education programs offered by our Title Sponsors and Educational Affiliate members.

In April, along with other chapters in Ohio, we compiled COVID-19 building-related resources and provided that database to ninety-one local government offices—that’s more than two hundred individual elected and appointed government officials. In July, staff and AIA Cincinnati Board members attended Architects in Action, AIA State and Local Government Network’s virtual conference focusing on advocacy with government leaders. Also in July, AIA Cincinnati’s Urban Design Committee leaders were featured in a panel discussion on community engagement for Cincinnati’s 2020 Neighborhood Summit, the annual event of Invest in Neighborhoods, which brings together community leaders, volunteers, city officials, and non-profit leaders to help them work together to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. In August, our Custom Residential Architects’ Network (CRAN) hosted virtual CRANawards, our annual awards program to celebrate the best of local residential architecture.

The coming months offer many more opportunities. If you’re wondering how the recent Republican and Democratic conventions could impact architects and their firms, register for this Post-Convention Webinar, offered by AIA National’s Government Advocacy Committee and ArchiPAC, AIA’s Political Action Committee, on Wednesday, September 2. This program will provide an understanding of AIA’s Policy Platform and provide political analysis and insight on what the conventions and 2020 national elections will mean for architects. Later in September, our local Advocacy Committee will be sharing position statements on issues affecting our built environment obtained from candidates for Hamilton County Commissioner. Other local upcoming offerings include a salon on Encouraging Equity in Practice: What architects can do now to build a better and more inclusive practice starting with young people of color on September 9, our series with AIA Columbus on the Value of AIA Membership in September and October, the AIA Ohio Design Awards on September 24, the Cincinnati Design Awards in November, and a regional event for Emerging Professionals and Young Architects on September 29.

Details on these programs and many others will be shared in Architext, and on our website as they become available. If you’re interested in a topic that I didn’t mention, we’d love to hear from you, and are always open to suggestions for future programs. Contact us and let us know what is most relevant to you.

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