First, if you were registered as a current member on April 15, 2022 you recently would have received Stained Glass: the quarterly magazine of the Stained Glass Association of America, Winter 2021/22 SGAA publication in your mailbox. It’s a thoughtfully produced publication that shares stories from the artistic to the technical with all that is in between. We are thrilled with the highlight of SAMA Member, Sandra Groeneveld and look forward to their continued infusion of mosaic art in future issues!
Second, as previously reported in the last letter from the President, a steering committee comprised of 3 members of SGAA and 3 from SAMA has been meeting to discuss what a partnership or merger could look like for the future of both organizations. We often use the analogy of dating when we talk amongst ourselves about our process. I’m happy to report we still like each other and we look forward to meeting everyone at the Confluence Toledo 2022 conference being held June 26 -30 this year.
Third, to give you some historical context about SGAA: it has been in existence for about 125 years and is a 501(c)6. Its not-for-profit status is for an organization that exists for the benefit of its members’ business interests without the goal of making a profit. The organization must make sure that no one individual or shareholder benefits financially from the organization’s income. To remind you – SAMA’s not for profit status (501(c)3) is for groups with a dedicated purpose, in our case to educate, promote and inspire the world about mosaics.
One of the reasons the SAMA Board was intrigued with discussing a merger with SGAA was because of the connections SGAA has made with religious institutions, architects, insurance companies and individuals who want new stained glass works or restoration work completed. SGAA has built a reputation in the US to assure that if one hires an SGAA accredited member they will be reliable and knowledgeable in best practices in the industry. SGAA as an organization is focused on industry safety standards, quality work and believes educating the public is an important component of their mission. We thought this level of exposure for mosaic artists could provide an added value to our members.
To that end we are exploring what that would look like for mosaic artists. SGAA has two levels of membership that require the member to provide quite a bit of information to determine that a person is not a hobbyist and that they know what they are doing. The levels are identified as “Accredited Professional member” and “Professional member”. (You may view the application here.) Most of the requirements on the application are pretty straightforward.
SAMA has been asked to propose specific criteria and supportive documentation for mosaic artists, studios and workshops. i.e. what does a qualified mosaic artist look like and need to know to be an accredited member. A committee comprised of 10 professional mosaic artists has been formed to define what this looks like and will begin in earnest in July of this year.
Fourth, Megan McElfresh, Executive Director of SGAA is the person behind the first phone call to SAMA asking to explore what a partnership would be like between SAMA and SGAA. She has a vision and ideas to implement. I love her energy, enthusiasm and persistence and I hope you get a chance to meet her at the conference in Toledo. If you aren’t able to join us this year, here’s a video Meagan made telling you a bit about herself and her work with SGAA and art.
Fifth, this is my hope for a partnership for these two organizations. I’d like to see a robust organization that supports professional stained glass and mosaic artists, studios and fabricators to grow and become stronger and better businesses while encouraging the hobbyist, the maker, the enthusiast to be able to learn more about the mediums and enjoying the process and the community, and if they so desire, become professionals.Three pillars support the mediums and the combined organization – vendors, enthusiasts and professionals. Each pillar needs the other pillars to make their own pillar strong and productive. I want the organization to be around 125 more years inviting and nourishing another generation through these art forms.
Thanks for reading this far and drop me an email if you have any thoughts or suggestions as we move through this process!
Libby Hintz, President