Tom Walsh elected to third term as president of Art Directors Guild

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The union representing Hollywood’s art directors, set designers and illustrators has reelected Tom Walsh as its president.

Walsh, a veteran film and TV production designer, was narrowly reelected to his third term as president of the 2,000-member Local 800 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, known as the Art Directors Guild. He defeated opponent Nelson Coates by just 21 votes, the guild said Tuesday.

Also joining Walsh as newly elected officers are Chad Frey, who was elected vice president; Liza Frazza, who was elected secretary; and Cate Bangs, who is the new treasurer. The candidates defeated incumbents in close contests.

The election comes nearly a year after the guild completed a controversial merger with two smaller unions representing illustrators and set designers, an issue that figured prominently in the election.


The shotgun marriage was pushed by former IATSE chief Tom Short, who saw it as a way to strengthen the bargaining clout of the guilds and reduce turf fights among them. The measure, however, was unpopular with the merged locals, many of whose members feared they would lose their autonomy.

Walsh strongly backed the merger, while his opponent did not. In an interview from Albuquerque, where he is working as a production designer for the USA TV show ‘In Plain Sight,’ Walsh said he would continue to ‘work toward unifying our members’ and promote more continuing education for members on new technology. ‘Technology is such a huge issue for us in the workplace, and for too long the unions have not taken it seriously,’ he said.

-- Richard Verrier