On the evening of March 12, 2020, the Glass Art Society issued the somber announcement the board and staff of the artist organization had been hoping against hope they wouldn't have to make. The 2020 conference set to take place May 20 through 23rd in Småland, Sweden, will not be taking place due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus.
"Please know that both GAS and our Swedish partners do not make this decision lightly, and we apologize for the disruption in plans that this change will cause," reads the official announcement.
Those who have sent in advance registration fees (both attendees and tech display exhibitors) will receive a refund of all but $50 of their payment, and they can choose what form the reimbursement takes. The refund can be applied to the 2021 conference, it can be donated to the Glass Art Society, or it can be returned. Registrants can make their choice of how they'd like their refund to be distributed by filling out the online form at the announcement page on the GAS website.
Because GAS only handles the conference registrations, they do not have access to transportation or accommodations bookings, and those refunds are up to individuals to pursue with their travel agents, airlines, or hotels.
The only exception is for those who registered for the Collectors' Tour Plus Package. Those hotel reservations "will be cancelled along with your conference registration," reads the official announcement.
Because the annual conference is the largest income stream for the non-profit organization, and because they will still have to shoulder most of the expenses of the cancelled conference without any revenue to offset them, organizers have made a plea for donations, and for help recruiting memberships.
The announcement reads:
losing most or all of our conference revenue—the primary resource that makes all GAS programming possible—while being locked into the majority of our expenses would create a significant financial hardship for us. That’s why we’re asking you to support GAS during this difficult time.
To learn more about membership in the Glass Art Society, visit this page of their website.