Following next week's ambitious 2018 Glass Art Society annual conference in Murano, Italy, the artist organization's long-serving executive director Pam Figenshow Koss has announced that she will step down. Though she plans on staying on through the end of June 2018, the announcement issued late last night brings the curtain down on her 14-year tenure.
“It was a difficult decision to choose to step down from my position at the Glass Art Society," she said in a prepared statement, adding “it has been a wonderful experience and Murano represents a real pinnacle in my career.
Under Koss's leadership, the Glass Art Society strove to develop programming besides its main event, the annual gathering in cities such as Seattle, Corning, and Norfolk, Virginia, where the 2017 conference took place mainly at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Koss launched an initiative to organize localized SPARK! events to provide regional forums for glass artists, as well as an expanded online presence through the glassart.org website which Koss redesigned and overhauled in 2013.
But the annual conferences remained the main membership driver of the organization, which saw its numbers rise and fall with the success of each event. Under Koss, the GAS conferences explored distant locations such as Adelaide, Australia, in 2005. Experiments with more offbeat locations such as Pittsburgh in 2007, Louisville, Kentucky, in 2010, or San Jose, California, in 2015, were interspersed by the sure-fire conference sites of Seattle and Corning, New York, in years when attendance (and GAS membership surged). Highlights such as the 50th anniversary of Studio Glass celebrations at the 2012 conference in Toledo, Ohio, were offset by the cancellation of the 2013 Boston conference and controversial relocation of the 2011 event from Tucson, Arizona, to Seattle.
Koss brought experience running arts and crafts fairs in Washington State, as well as chambers of commerce in Florida and in the Northwest Coast, where she proved her abilities to expand membership and successfully manage events.
In a prepared statement by the Glass Art Society, the board states that it wants to "express its gratitude for the hard work and dedication she’s shown while expertly advancing our annual conferences as well as her many contributions to the glass art world. It is fitting Pamela will end her tenure by producing the most ambitious conference the Glass Art Society has ever presented. This historic conference in Murano will be an appropriate place for the Glass Art Society community to thank Pamela for her many years of service and outstanding accomplishments"
“I am excited about the next chapter for me and for the organization ” says Figenshow Koss in a prepared statement. “After taking
a little time off and enjoying the summer in Seattle, I’ll explore the next phase of my career. I am so
grateful for the experience, this wonderful community, the people I have met, and all that I have learned
working for this organization. I have loved this job and the Glass Art Society.”