The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) will suspend operations at the end of the month. An email sent to members today and signed by the Board of Directors explains that a decline in membership and poor attendance at the Winter Show (which was held as a pavilion at AFCI’s Creativation), combined with the cancellation of the Summer Show due to COVID-19 has left the association “at a standstill.” 

“Unfortunately, TNNA currently cannot continue the membership operations you have come to expect with what little resources we have left,” the email stated.

As of April 30, 2020, TNNA will suspend operations until further notice. The TNNA offices will remain closed, memberships will not be able to be processed, and TNNA’s regular newsletter and social media will be on pause. Members will still be able to log into the website.

Assessing the situation

Volunteers and staff members at SmithBucklin, TNNA’s association management firm, are working with legal counsel to inventory the association’s assets and financial obligations.

“We know you have many questions. We, the TNNA board, are doing our best to understand and formulate a plan on how we should best move forward. It’s a daunting and unwelcome task, but one that must be done,” the email stated. “The cancellation of the Summer Show has dealt TNNA a severe financial blow that we may be unable to recover from.” 

Richard Kennair of Global Artisans Shop has exhibited at TNNA shows over the past several years. “I don’t think anyone is truly surprised by TNNA’s announcement,” he says. “Over the past few years, we saw a noticeable and dramatic weakening of the organization…and last year we saw Needlework effectively break away from TNNA with the launch of The Spring Needlepoint Show. So the organization was really left with only yarn. The question arises – what’s left for wholesale for yarn people, particularly the small scale dyer? That’s what I’ve been wondering.”

No refunds as of now, no shows planned

TNNA didn’t issue refunds to attendees or exhibitors for the Summer Show. The association has said that at this time it is not in a position to do so. The show will not be rescheduled, nor are there any plans for any future TNNA events.

The email from the Board ended with the following plea: “Please understand that we, your TNNA Board of Directors, are all volunteers and are doing this while also trying to run our individual businesses in these very trying times. Feel free to reach out to anyone on the board if you have any questions or words of encouragement, but please keep in mind that we are also struggling in our personal lives and business during this time.”

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