Patty Grodner

I humbly offer my name as an incumbent for the 2020 Board of Directors.

As I contemplated running for the board again, I wondered if I still have value to add? I have been part of the board for 6 years and have been fortunate to work on several amazing projects and worked with even more amazing volunteers to realize the culmination of those projects. However, I wondered if it was time for new and fresh volunteers to fill the board?

We are in unprecedented times. OrigamiUSA will have some great challenges to navigate these difficult times ahead. We have already needed to cancel our annual convention and our office is closed down. Our staff and volunteers are working from home doing whatever they can to keep the organization alive. As with many businesses and non-profits, we may struggle financially.

I feel confident the future of OrigamiUSA is bright and strong. As soon announcements of shut- downs came across the county, the Board of Directors started brainstorming and taking action to help our origami community while we are sheltering in place. I have been fortunate to be part of several initiatives during these last few months:

  • COG Zoom Room-As chair of the Origami Connect Team I joined with Shri Iyer (Chair of the Community Origami Groups-COG) and Website team to help set up a COG Zoom room where Community Origami Groups could join together and fold during the stay at home time. There has been a tremendous amount of response to this- and the COG Zoom room is booked several times/week from clubs around the world. I have attended many of these Zoom meetings and although it is not the same as in person, I have folded with people that I only usually see at convention.
  • UnCon (UnConvention 2020) -The board created a task force to work on some kind of online gathering for folders who will participate from home rather than in person. I have joined the task force and am extremely excited about the online event that will happen in June.
  • Origami Connect- The Origami Connect committee stepped up to set up 8 additional events for this summer! It will be the first summer session. We are going to take you on a virtual origami vacation.
  • Video Editing Team-I worked the Origami Connect Team, the website team and Wendy Zeichner to help establish a video editing committee to edit and move the online videos to Vimeo to make them accessible as well as archive them. I’m excited to see a large group of young, enthusiastic folders ready to help the organization.

I do think we need new, fresh and innovative volunteers and board members…but even ones that have been around a while like me, do have things to contribute. I’m still enthusiastic about helping our organization weather these current challenges and grow to be stronger and better as a result. As with any board member, I look to our community for ideas and support. I pledge to serve to the best of my ability if I am elected.

David Kandel

I am nearing the end of my third term on the board, and would like to be considered for a fourth term. I have a strong background as a mathematics educator, and in that context have developed courses in middle and high school focusing on origami. I have also given numerous workshops for kindergarten through graduate school over the years to teach either very general origami folding or highly specific forms, such as modulars, tessellations, and corrugations.

I also have many decades experience in the general advocacy and non-profit world, specifically with fundraising, volunteer coordination, leadership and board development, strategic planning, and organizational culture.

Origami USA has a terrific board of directors which is leading the organization in new and exciting directions and I hope to be a part of this leadership in the years to come.

Marc Kirschenbaum

It is a pleasure to offer my candidacy as an incumbent for the 2020 OrigamiUSA Board of Directors election. As a member since this organizations inception, it has been exciting to see its evolution, but even more exciting to have taken active part in it. I have played a significant role in the Publications Committee for over two decades, and I am one of the managing editors. We plan on continuing to increase the availability of our publications through digital and electronic printing techniques. This includes creating a virtual work environment to allow for social distancing. I also have been increasingly active in helping shape our new governance. We are faced with critical decisions in the way our organization is shaped, so we can best create and address big picture needs, while still not losing sight of our past. It has been a pleasure to serve on the board during these past terms, and I hope to be reelected to help continue furthering the goals of OrigamiUSA.

Michael Montebello

I've been a member of OrigamiUSA for more than twenty years and am an avid convention-goer albeit as a volunteer. I can “simple” fold but would say I’m learning more. As a Board member and currently Board Treasurer, I have enjoyed the last four years and I willing to continue.

In my professional life I am an engineer with more than 39 years’ experience for South Carolina’s environmental agency (DHEC). However, I am also able to expand my horizons as I have just taken a new position as a Supervisor for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in Raleigh, NC. I can comprehend and write contracts and regulations, am adept at budget and financial issues, manage people and work with real world events. I deal with things not going as planned and realize the need for sometimes taking risks.

Why would I want to continue to be an OrigamiUSA Board member? I would like to expand and keep OrigamiUSA relevant and important to its many members, to support expansion and innovation, to inspire potential new and existing members by expanding outreach (including exploring additional options for “new folders”) to join and contribute their time and talents and expand volunteer activities wherever possible. I continue to provide a different perspective on decisions that affect every member. I would appreciate your vote in this year's election.

Charlene (Char) Morrow

I joined the OrigamiUSA Board of Directors in 2013 and served as Board Chair from August 2017 to August 2019. I have found my participation on the board, and in leading the board, an exciting and stimulating opportunity to help maintain the excellence of our organization while facilitating new opportunities so that we will keep our organization vibrant and growing for new generations of folders. Especially because I do not live in New York City (I live in Massachusetts), I want to help increase opportunities for folders on the local level, whether through Community Origami Groups or another means. I feel it is important to keep ideas fresh and flowing so I stepped down as board chair in 2019 to allow a new chair to define some new directions. I would love to see more new board members fill out our board. In the meantime, I am interested in remaining on the board to help keep OrigamiUSA serving our community and connecting people across all differences in this challenging time. I hope we can continue to creatively move forward.

Here is a sampling of my recent board activities and accomplishments:

  • Served as Board Chair, August 2017-August 2019
  • Led the design of the 2015 Survey and designed several smaller surveys for OrigamiUSA, including the Convention Survey. I believe it is important to continue to get member input (through surveys and other means) and shape our organization around what members want.
  • Chaired the Fundraising Committee and led several very successful fundraising campaigns that have helped OrigamiUSA fund new initiatives, such as our successful convention scholarships for youth, which now includes scholarships to PCOC.
  • Committed to education, and I can see that much of what goes on in the origami world has an element of teaching. Origami Connect has brought so many people quality origami learning experiences at home. I would like to see OrigamiUSA expand this program even further and perhaps begin to offer classes on integrating origami into various aspects of school subject areas.

In addition, I started and continue to organize the Mountain Folders Community Origami Group in Western MA. This year, we have had to meet online due to social distancing and health safety concerns. While challenging, we have also had new opportunities as more and more folders have joined our gatherings from across the USA and around the world.

I am passionate about making sure that the excellence and importance of OrigamiUSA is maintained as we grow. At the same time, I appreciate the history and passion that has inspired so many amazing folders and has made for such an extended and close international community. I will work to ensure that our feeling of family and community continues, as does our creativity.

Some background about me: I have been folding paper for over 30 years --- ever since I saw Tomoko Fuse's Unit Origami book on the shelf in a local bookstore. I was so inspired by the geometric and colorful models shown on the cover that I felt compelled to buy the book and learn to fold all of the models. I thought that these models were very mathematical in nature so I designed and taught a two-week origami and geometry workshop for the summer program that I directed for many years. For a long time I had no idea there was a folding community. In 1998 a friend said she noticed a whole convention devoted to origami in New York and suggested we attend together. I was amazed to see what paperfolders were doing!! I have learned so much, felt so inspired, and made so many friends by being a part of the origami community. I love to see the look on the face of someone who has just discovered the magic of cleverly transforming paper into a beautiful three-dimensional object, whether a box, a butterfly, or a polyhedron.

I regularly teach origami in a wide variety of settings from schools to museums to festivals to conventions. I have also displayed my origami at juried math/art exhibitions and conferences, and I have published several papers on math and origami. I designed and taught a college level origami and mathematics course. In 2019 I was invited to co-curate an exhibit of mathematical origami art at the Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan. It was a challenging, fun, and very satisfying experience.