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SECAC 2020 - Hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University

Contact Conference Director Carly Phinizy:

SECAC 2020 is Going Virtual!

Conference Dates: November 30 – December 11, 2020

Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts is honored to host the 76th annual meeting of SECAC as a fully virtual conference. As its theme, the conference will engage the concept of commonwealth as an ideal of common good that pervades the political landscape of arts and educational institutions. We will question the complexities of a commonwealth, both in its original utopian form and its attendant failings as a colonial structure. A virtual conference is a new venture for SECAC, and we are all excited to reimagine the core of what makes the annual conference so meaningful to our community. 

Conference Highlights
We are planning for over 80 individual sessions at the 2020 conference, all to take place online. Additionally, we have exciting virtual programming for conference participants, including: 

    ● Keynote lecture by Valerie Cassel Oliver, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
    ● Juried Members’ Exhibition in collaboration with the Anderson (VCUarts), with prizes awarded by guest juror, Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
    ● Virtual SECAC Awards Ceremony and Annual Members’ Meeting
    ● Facilitated Racial Justice Town Hall with the SECAC Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
    ● Exciting opportunities for virtual professional development and networking, including peer mentoring and workshops 

New Conference Registration Rates
This year, conference registration will run through our virtual conference platform. The platform will take time to build, but as soon as registration is available, we’ll share that information widely. 

Member Rates for Conference Participants

Early Registration (through 11/23):

Full Conference Pass, Individual member: $135
Full Conference Pass, Independent/Adjunct member: $70
Full Conference Pass, Retired member: $70
Full Conference Pass, Graduate Student member: $60*

Late Registration (beginning 11/24)

Full Conference Pass, Individual member: $160
Full Conference Pass, Independent/Adjunct member: $85
Full Conference Pass, Retired member: $85
Full Conference Pass, Graduate Student member: $70*

*Significant funding is available to cover conference registration for graduate student presenters and chairs; details about how to apply for Bosch awards to cover graduate student registration will be forthcoming.

All conference participants (e.g. chairs and presenters) are required to maintain current SECAC membership and register for the full conference pass within the appropriate membership tier. We understand that many members of the SECAC community are experiencing financial challenges at this time due to institutional budget cuts and, in some instances, changes in employment status. To help lower the cost of conference registration, SECAC has provided a $15,000 subvention from its “rainy day” fund, and we have received generous anonymous donations totaling $1,300. These supplemental funds have allowed us to lower registration rates significantly across all membership tiers. Additionally, over $5,000 is available to subsidize the conference registration of student presenters and chairs who do not have funding from their home institutions.

Presenters who are experiencing acute financial need that will be a barrier to conference participation should contact Conference Director Carly Phinizy at and SECAC Administrator Christine Tate at


Dear SECAC Members,
Following a survey of members and subsequent SECAC Board meeting vote, SECAC 2020 will be conducted in a virtual format. VCUarts will remain as the SECAC 2020 host institution with Carly Phinizy, Assistant Chair and Assistant Professor of Art History at VCU, continuing as the capable Conference Director in this alternate format.

A virtual conference format presents the opportunity to schedule events over more than three days and to consider the optimum conference dates in light of changes to many university schedules this fall. Stretching the conference will reduce the number of sessions taking place at one time. The thought is that this will minimize time conflicts and allow members to attend more sessions. The onsite conference had been scheduled for October 21-24. When the dates for virtual SECAC 2020 are finalized, they will be posted here and communicated widely.

A virtual conference format will preclude the need for travel expenditures, and that was part of the decision-making process. Early registration rates are capped at $95 for student members and $195 for individual members. We know that many members are experiencing financial, personal, and professional setbacks, and we are keeping these considerations in mind as planning progresses and decisions regarding registration fees are made.

To volunteer to assist in this endeavor and to thank the VCUarts team for the immense work that they have done so far—and that lies ahead—in order to sustain professional development opportunities for so many members this year, Carly can be reached at

Sandra Reed
President, SECAC
Professor, School of Art & Design, College of Arts and Media
Marshall University
Work: One Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755
Office: Visual Arts Center 508, 927 Third Avenue, Huntington, WV 25701

Future Conferences
For a list of future SECAC conference locations and dates, please see Future Annual Conferences.

Past Conferences
For a list of past SECAC conference locations, dates, and chairs, please see Annual Conference History.