SGAA President’s Letter - Sourcebook 2009
By B. Gunar Gruenke
Published in SGAA Stained Glass Quarterly 2009
Mission Statement: The Stained Glass Association of America is a nonprofit association that strives to foster excellence, growth and education in the field of stained and decorative art glass. We pledge to maintain the highest possible standards for excellence in craftsmanship, integrity and business practices.
The June 2009 SGAA Annual Summer Conference in Oklahoma City marks the 100th summer conference of our Association. It is a wonderful honor to carry on the traditions of our forefathers. SGAA archives have photographs from the conferences in the 1940s where the banquets attracted hundreds of men and women dressed in their finest suits, lavish dresses and hats.
From day one, in 1903, our members cared and they worked diligently to build the backbone of the greatest medium in which to execute artwork. The transmission of light adds infinite depth to otherwise flat paintings. God’s light enhances and magnifies every colored piece of glass chosen by the artist. This light creates unique shadows, highlights, rays, reflections, and glittering devotional masterpieces unmatched anywhere in the art world.
Light adds prismatic colors to constantly change the experience of the viewer. Spend a day in a church and you will feel the changes in the glass. These experiences of the viewer are in the hearts of our members. It has always amazed me how so many people have made their livelihood with stained glass over the past 100 years. These are not only craftspeople, but the finest of artists today.
We are an association of talented artists. We create quality artwork that offers devotional, inspirational and emotional experiences for the viewer. Whether we are creating symbolic or figural windows for a church, designs for a home or abstract art for a hospital, airport, corporate headquarters or restaurant, we are creating “living” art.
If we took all of the stained glass ever produced for churches alone for the last 100 years, and laid the panels side by side, it would reach the moon! That is a tremendous amount of stained glass. Stained glass is an incredible medium embraced by all in the world. It is embraced for its mystical beauty.
I have come to know many of the artists in this Sourcebook personally and know that they are humble, realistic, down to the earth people and are friends that will last forever. The art, the people, and the experiences within the stained glass industry are amazing.
Thank you all for allowing me to play a vital role in our industry and our Association’s growth. While honoring and respecting the art of the past, I remain extremely excited about every new piece of stained glass created today.
B. Gunar Gruenke