Message from the President September 2011

Growing Our Sense of Community

By Brian Pitman, September 2011

I hope this issue of the Carnival Pump finds you cool after a scorchingly hot and wet summer and in good spirits as we move into autumn and the wonderful color changes that our foliage will bring. Autumn is always a time of reflection for me (great, beautiful changes in one’s surroundings always makes one ponder the big questions). For me, a lot of this focus has been on ICGA, its convention, and even the Carnival Pump.

We had a very enjoyable convention in St. Louis, and it is always fun to see so many friends. Our presentations were impressive, and ICGA launched a new type of presentation that can be seen (along with our other presentations) on our website at The auction did well, and the Grogan collection is now spread out into the community for its new owners to enjoy. Darlene and Jim had their bittersweet moments watching the glass sell (which I am sure is never easy), but were happy with the results.

This understanding of the community of carnival glass really hit me during the auction preview. We had around 80 people registered for the convention, but approximately 200 people in the auction room looking at (and buying) glass. There were a great many people in the room whom I have never met. I wondered if they were members of ICGA, or if they were members of any carnival glass association (I suspect many of them are not.) Many of them were also on the “young” side, as opposed to what we normally see at a carnival glass convention.

We have worked so long to get more younger people into carnival glass to preserve its value and history, and I think we have done a pretty good job of it (judging by the influx of younger collectors at auctions). It makes me feel better that carnival glass will continue on, but I am unhappy that so many of them haven’t joined carnival glass associations as a whole. The young mentality is do-it-yourself education (hey, I am in the younger category, and I totally look online for free education first), and that works against us. But the more I think about it, the more I remember that it wasn’t so much the education that kept me tuned into the carnival clubs. It was the people, the community, if you will.

I have seen carnival glass conventions that work, and others that didn’t. In the past, just having one meant that you could see your friends, and you could attend an auction. But everyone does that and, frankly, you can “see” people online around the world daily anymore. The thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the desire for a sense of community. Even young people embrace it with Facebook, tweet-ups, and much more. We simply have to up our game by providing a greater sense of community at our conventions. This is something the ICGA Board of Directors knows and will be working on for our 2012 convention. Stay tuned for ideas about how we plan to make that happen.

One new thing we have already planned for 2012 is a new, enhanced Silent Auction. ICGA will be taking consigned glass for its Silent Auction. Here are the basics: you can ask ICGA to put in a piece of carnival glass for you, anywhere from $10 in value to $100,000 if you wish. You can assign a reserve price. That reserve price will be listed on the Silent Auction form.

If your piece beats the reserve and sells, ICGA will take 5% commission for the piece. If it does not meet the reserve price, ICGA will take a 1% commission of the reserve price for marketing and attempting to sell your piece. We will have three of these silent auctions at our convention, one for each day (Wednesday-Friday). If you are interested in consigning a piece or two, simply let me know ( We are looking for a great mix of quality and value.

We have a whole lot more to announce about this convention in future issues, but I am very happy to say that our convention auction is the collection of Bob and Geneva Leonard, both fantastic ICGA members. ICGA lost a great one when Bob passed on, but we are super excited to see Geneva when she sells her collection through the Seeck Auction folks at our next convention. They had an amazing collection, and you should plan to attend the convention and auction.

Enjoy your autumn. It should bring cooler temps, a little contemplation, and a chance to remember a wonderful year. As usual, we thank you for your membership, and we hope to give you a greater sense of community in the next year.