A last-ditch push to raise attendance in the 2013 Glass Art Association of Canada conference failed to raise sign-ups sufficiently to make the event financially viable for the 30-year-old artist organization. Organizers say they were 30-percent of the way to a break-even event, but that is where enrollment stalled with only 6 weeks to go before the scheduled event was to take place on May 23rd, 2013, in Calgary, Alberta. The cancellation is all the more bittersweet as it was to be a celebratory event of the association’s three-decade anniversary, and was entitled: “Breaking Boundaries: 30 Smashing Years!” And so on Wednesday, GAAC president Jamie Gray notified members of the decision. “Very sadly and with great regret, we have had to make the decision to cancel the conference,” she wrote in an emailed letter.
“It seems from the news we’ve been receiving from membership that many people’s finances are just too tight this year to be able to have the luxury of attending a conference,” Gray continued. “A sign of the times? Perhaps. But disappointing for all.” This is the second North American glass artist association conference to be cancelled in 2013, as the U.S.-based Glass Art Society cancelled its 2013 conference in Boston earlier this year.
Gray cites the two-years of hard work on the part of volunteers that will have come to naught. The silver lining, she says, is that many of the glass-themed events in Calgary timed to coincide with the conference will be moving forward in May and June, enriching the cultural life of the city and offering opportunities for glass artists to be exhibited.
Those who did register for the conference should see refunds of their fees in the coming days. For those who booked lodgings at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Polytechnic dorms, you must contact them directly to arrange a full refund at 403.284.8013.