The board of the Stained Glass Association of America shuffled off to Buffalo in January for the organization’s annual winter board meetings. While many had been to Western New York previously, this was the first time the entire board gathered in Buffalo since the SGAA headquarters relocated to the city in January 2018.
“It was fantastic for the board to be together in Buffalo not only because of the achievements of the association itself, but also because the association members have had such a good year,” Megan McElfresh, SGAA executive administrator, said. “Coming together, we were able to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments.
“This board has now been together for several years and we’re achieving a huge synergy that we hope translates into a larger sense of community among our members. We’re not afraid to throw out big ideas and dig into projects that would have seemed unattainable just a few short years ago.”
Several board members arrived early to visit the Roycroft Campus, a popular pilgrimage for those in the traditional Arts and Craft Movement. They also toured Graycliff, the first of two Frank Llyod Wright houses the board would see in Buffalo. Graycliff was the summer home of Darwin and Isabelle Martin, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and built between 1926 and 1931.
The board met with people from the Buffalo community who have supported the work of the SGAA. Around 40 people were at an official “Welcome to Buffalo” reception held at the Western New York Book Arts Center. Among the supporters were members from Explore Buffalo, an historic tour organization, and Preservation Buffalo-Niagara, a preservation and conservation advocacy organization.
It was also an opportunity to meet with local financial sponsors, including Rigidized Metals, AMJ Insurance, Jude’s Luxury Travel, Michael A. de Freitas, Techniglass, Bison Scaffolding, Ken Fisher/Edward Jones, Interior Design Association of Western New York, and Matthew Whitehead.
On Saturday, the board had the opportunity to hear from Dr. David Pye, emeritus professor of glass science at Alfred University, who is working with the International Glass Commission on an United Nations resolution to designate 2022 as the Year of Glass. The SGAA has already sent a letter of support, and Dr. Pye discussed the process for the U.N. designation and a variety of opportunities for the SGAA to be involved in events in 2022.
The board meeting concluded with a visit to Trinity Episcopal Church, one of only two eccelsiastical sites in the United States to house works by rivals Louis C. Tiffany and John La Farge. To round out the evening, the board took a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's newly restored Darwin Martin House Complex then headed back to the heart of the city to enjoy dinner at the Hotel Lafayette - another important historical and architectural landmark for the City of Buffalo. A French Renaissance-style building, it was designed principally by Louise Blanchard Bethune of the respected Buffalo architectural firm of Bethune, Bethune and Fuchs. She was the first professional woman architect in the country, the first female member of the American Institute of Architects, and the first woman to be made a Fellow of the A.I.A.
Even though board members have now returned home, thanks to the delights of 21st century technology, the conversation hasn’t slowed at all.