I write this editorial at the end of a week that began at The Elms Resort and Spa in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, the site of the next Stained Glass Association of America Annual Summer Conference. I spent several days helping to plan events for the Conference but also enjoying views like the ones above. I took my sketch pad with me and spent some time outdoors — sometimes on the pool deck, sometimes in the gazebo (from which the photo above left was taken), and sometimes on the covered porch near the Café at the Elms — drawing and enjoying the relaxing environment that this amazing hotel offers.
I don’t think I can stress strongly enough that this Annual Summer Conference is going to be very different from those of past years. This Conference adopts a new orientation — perhaps I should say, a new atmosphere — made possible by a site like that at the Elms. The hallmark elements of education, information, networking, and fun that are part of all SGAA Conferences will be maintained while a new one is added: relaxation.
To those readers who are artists, I suggest that you bring pencils, pens, pastels, watercolors… whatever it is that you use to create, and be ready to enjoy using them in this wonderful and relaxing atmosphere… or, if I can perhaps coin a new word, artmosphere. But I also suggest that you bring something new… some new medium. Perhaps it could be something you’ve been wanting to try, or perhaps it could be something you’ve been wanting to return to and explore further. Regardless, the Elms is the place to try it.
And for those who are not artists, I suggest you bring a sketch pad, anyway. You are going to find yourself inspired by the grounds of the Elms, and, if you aren’t an artist when you get there, you may find yourself wanting to become one by the time you leave. Besides, even if you can draw only a stick figure, you’ll likely find it is the finest, most inspired stick figure you’ve drawn in a good, long while. And, most importantly, you’ll find drawing it both relaxing and refreshing.
I’m very excited about next summer’s Annual Summer Conference. I hope you’ll start making plans to join us and take advantage of all that an SGAA Annual Summer Conference has to offer. Also, please plan on entering the stained glass panel competition. It will be beautifully displayed in a sunlit hallway outside the Grand Ballroom at the Elms and will be a real opportunity to showcase the beauty of stained glass.