By Susan K. Tully, ASID
The New York Metro Chapter now has its own Advocacy Committee, which is actively seeking new members. Co-chaired by incoming Chapter President Maria Lomanto, Allied ASID, and incoming Emerging Professionals Committee Chair Michelle Jacobson, ASID, the committee’s mission is “to advocate for and advance the interior design profession in New York state, by promoting the unique value of interior designers to the public, the design community, and members of state and local governments; and to pursue policies and issue areas important to interior designers.”
The Committee will focus on a communications campaign to Increase public awareness of the role and value of all interior designers in design and construction. We hope to educate the public on what it means to be a certified interior designer and an ASID member. The committee will also work to encourage equality of entry into the marketplace for interior designers, and to support designers who want to take the NCIDQ exam. The Committee plans to coordinate with other chapter committees to advocate for diversity, sustainability, and other important issues, and to hold educational events jointly with the New York Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).
Committee members are also coordinating with the Consortium for Interior Design – New York, which also includes ASID’s New York Upstate/Canada East chapter, IIDA New York, ASID National, IIDA HQ, and the Council for Interior Design Qualification (CIDQ). The group is beginning an effort to secure modernized legislation in New York that will address some of the challenges faced by interior designers.
The intent is to promote legislation that defines certified interior designers as “design professionals”, permitting them to own a majority of a design professional service corporation, and outlines the practice of interior design, granting stamp and seal privileges to certified interior designers. This would allow certified interior designers to broaden the scope of their practice and eliminate the need to be a sub-contractor to architects for some projects. The Consortium seeks to align the state’s interior design education requirements with those of CIDQ, simplifying the application process. Finally, eliminating or clarifying the interior decorating and design services sales tax would ensure that interior design is seen as an integral part of the design and construction process, and not just a luxury service. Certification would remain voluntary.
As the process moves forward, we encourage ASID members at all levels and even non-members to support the effort by texting “Interior Design” to 52886 and signing up for Phone2Action alerts. This only takes a moment or two and will allow them to stay updated and learn about ways to take action when the time comes. Eventually the Committee will encourage members to reach out to their representatives through the easy-to-use Phone2Action platform.
Since many members of our ASID chapter are Allied members or Industry Partners, Lomanto says “even if you feel this legislation and these advocacy efforts might not directly affect you, it affects us all as a profession. There is a value for all of us in supporting fellow designers who have gone through the process of getting their NCIDQ and helping their efforts to be seen in eyes of New York State as qualified design professionals. While not everyone chooses to take the exam or to become a certified designer, all of us at ASID will benefit from increased awareness of how our work contributes to the health, safety, and welfare of the public.” Advocating for the value of interior designers helps all of us.