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PCA Convention 2013
Paperweight Collectors Association Inc.



The 2013 PCA Convention
New Orleans, LA
June 5-8

by Don Formigli


Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel,  New Orleans
Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel, New Orleans
(click image to enlarge)

Celebrating sixty years since its founding in 1953, the 2013 PCA New Orleans Convention was a big success with an attendance of 185. The event was held at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel at the corner of Canal and Bourbon Streets, an ideal location for exploring the French Quarter and the many fine restaurants within walking distance. Even though smaller than recent conventions, there were still twenty-eight states of the US and seven other countries represented. Fewer attended from outside the US than in the past for varying reasons, including the Ysart Weekend scheduled the following week in the UK and the economy in Europe. The other countries represented were Canada, UK, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia. Thirteen dealers had booths, and eighteen artists attended showing their work at the Wednesday evening Artist Fair. The programs were varied and spaced throughout the convention, allowing ample time for exploring New Orleans. Some attendees extended their visit before or after the convention to allow even more time for sightseeing.

Some of the artists who showed their work at the Artist Fair
Some of the artists who showed their work at the Artist Fair
(click image to enlarge)

The highly anticipated Artists' Fair was the opening event and was conveniently situated in a lobby (Grand Gallery) adjacent to the ballroom location of the Dealers' Fair, which followed. A door from the lobby opened out onto a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street, where many enjoyed viewing the craziness in the street below. Carving stations serving beef and turkey were set up at each end of the Artists' Fair, so no need to find a restaurant that night. The Dealers' Fair (dealers below) was open for three hours afterward, allowing everyone ample time to buy that first night. The Dealers' Fair was open at various times throughout the four-day convention including all Saturday afternoon, when it was also open to the public.

Some of the dealers attending the Dealers' Fair
Some of the dealers attending the Dealers' Fair
(click image to enlarge)

A special bonus of the convention was an exhibit of Russian paperweights, plaques, and seals. These were set up in a display case in the Dealers' Fair room and attracted an admiring crowd throughout the convention when that room was open. The items were loaned by a PCA member and PCA dealers and were probably the largest display of Russian weights ever shown in the US.


Special exhibit of Russian paperweights, plaques, and seals   Russian plaque
Special exhibit of Russian paperweights, plaques, and seals
(click image to enlarge)
Russian plaque
(click image to enlarge)

A special project called "Feed the World" was started by David Graeber. Artists were asked to make a food-themed paperweight for sale with part of the proceeds going to New Orleans-based charity "Second Harvest Food Bank." These weights were for sale at L.H. Selman's booth at the Dealers' Fair. Weights not sold at the convention are still available through L.H. Selman.

Programs started on Thursday morning after a daily breakfast buffet which was served in the same Grand Gallery as the Artists' Fair. Although many had gone on a PCA-booked bus and walking tour of New Orleans before the start of the convention, we all were treated to a power point tour of New Orleans by Huey Pablovich, a lifelong resident and guidebook author.

Other speakers during the various sessions were Alan Thornton, David Graeber, Gay LeCleire Taylor, Alan Kaplan, Al Bates, Wes Clark, Josh Simpson, Jan Smith, and John Hawley, spaced throughout the convention. David Graeber's topic was "New Horizons" and touched on losses from Katrina and Sandy.. He showed pictures of Alison Ruzsa's workshop after the devastation from Hurricane Sandy and then called her to the podium when she was presented with checks from DVPCA and NEPCA. Most of the other regional PCA groups had previously given money to help Alison replace her studio and equipment.

Bill Pitt, Jim Lefever, and Alan Thornton at the Paperweight ID Clinic
Panelists Bill Pitt, Jim Lefever, and Alan Thornton at the Paperweight ID Clinic
(chaired by Jan Smith)

(click image to enlarge)

On Friday evening, everyone was bused to the New Orleans Museum of Art where a sample of twenty-four paperweights from their small collection were put on special exhibit for PCA members. Our visit was scheduled to coincide with a public lecture, "Louis Comfort Tiffany at the World's Fairs," which most of our group attended in the museum auditorium. Light refreshments were provided by PCA at the museum. Buses were provided every half hour for return to the hotel up until the museum closed at 9:00 pm.

This convention marked a change in leadership as PCA President Ben Drabeck stepped down after the maximum three terms allowed. Phil Edelman was elected President (below, wearing official presidential cap) and Gordon Park from Tennessee was elected Vice President. Don Formigli was reelected as Treasurer and Diane Warning was reappointed as Secretary. John Hawley termed out as Region I Director and was appointed to the newly formed Board position of Publications Director. Gay LeCleire Taylor was elected as Region I Director. Keith Lange remains Region II Director and Marion Bates replaced Colin Mahoney, who did not choose to run again as Region III Director. Ellen J. Rostker replaces Gay LeCleire Taylor as Director at Large. Cathy Richardson was reelected by the artists as Artists' Representative and Bill Pitt was reelected by the dealers as Dealers' Representative. Non-board positions of Website Editor, Angela Bowey, and Newsletter Editor, Jami Severstad, remain the same.


newly elected PCA president, Phil Edelman
newly elected PCA president, Phil Edelman
(click image to enlarge)


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