Art director, artist locals stage merger

New org designed to bring higher visibility to field

Members of a pair of longstanding Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees locals have agreed to merge effective July 1, creating a new org repping about 1,600 art directors, production designers and scenic artists.

Merged org will be dubbed IATSE Local 850 Art Directors Guild & Scenic, Title & Graphic Artists. The joint boards will meet by mid-July.

Voting was 215-110 at Local 876 Art Directors Guild, which was founded in 1937 and reps about 900 production designers, art directors and assistant art directors. Tally totaled 177-12 in favor at Local 816 Scenic, Title & Graphic Artists, founded in 1949 and repping scenic artists, graphic artists, courtroom artists, computer artists and graphic designers.

ADG exec director Scott Roth said the merger, which has been in the works for four years, is designed to bring about higher visibility and relevancy along with improved administration.

‘Historic opportunity’

“We now have an historic opportunity to reinvent the art department from the ground up, while reaffirming its relevance, capabilities and leadership far into the digital age,” said Art Directors Guild prexy Tom Walsh. “From this point forward, our new union of artists will be swiftly moving into an enviable position within our industry from which we will be able to significantly influence the creative process while extending to our combined membership many new opportunities.”

Both locals are covered by IATSE’s Hollywood Basic agreement plus local pacts. The new local will be governed by a 15-member board and two 12-member crafts councils, one for art directors and one for scenic artists.

“This merger brings together the creative talents of Hollywood’s most prestigious locals and should enable us to better represent our members in an ever-changing environment,” said Scenic Artists prexy Pat DeGreve.

IASTE merged its Publicists Guild Local 818, which had about 500 members, into the Intl. Cinematographers Guild Local 600 last year, which now has about 6,000 members. IATSE has also strongly endorsed the proposed consolidation of the Screen Actors Guild with the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists.

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