Since the first guests arrived on July 12, 1913, the Great Hall has always been the heart of the historic Grove Park Inn. Flanked at either end by twin fireplaces large enough to burn eight-foot logs, the spacious room has always been lit by massive Roycroft chandeliers designed by the talented Victor Toothaker, who also designed the unique eight-foot clock which still greets each guest who walks through the front door.
The longevity of our National Arts and Crafts Conference can be attributed to several factors, including the presence of the Great Hall. We have all been to other events where we met someone briefly, then never got the opportunity to take up our conversation with them again. At the Grove Park Inn, however, the Great Hall provides us with an informal meeting place, where after each small group discussion or seminar we can relax in front of the fireplaces, get a drink at the bar, watch the sun set over the Blue Ridge Mountains, and pick up our conversations where we left off.
In the early years of the Arts and Crafts Conference we began placing three glass display cases in the Great Hall, filling each one with objects of interest to collectors and often tied to one of our seminars or discussion topics. These displays contributed to the educational element of our conference, helping to fulfill our purpose of increasing our knowledge and appreciation of those items we live with in our homes.
The combined popularity of both the educational display cases and the Great Hall has prompted us to change the location of the cases this year. Rather than sacrificing needed seating in the Great Hall, we are moving the three cases down to the Vanderbilt Wing eighth floor where our shows are always held.
The move will enable us to provide better security for the valuable antiques displayed in each case. It will also enable us to spread the cases out, rather than clustering them in the Great Hall around one of the few electrical outlets in the room. In their new locations, you will be able to view each glass case from a variety of angles, providing us with a better perspective and even greater appreciation for the art and the craft inherent in each piece.
This year we are looking forward to three fresh exhibits. Seminar speaker Riley Humler and the American Art Pottery Association will be focusing our eyes on Rookwood pottery made after 1915. Discussion leader Ron Ciarmello, who is writing a book on Stickley Brothers copper, will be bringing pieces from his growing collection for us to inspect. Dianne Ayres, yet another discussion leader, will be illustrating the design elements of the Arts and Crafts style in our third case, which ties in with Andre Chaves’ Friday evening seminar on the evolution of Arts and Crafts designs.
Combined with all of the other elements to be included in the 35th National Arts and Crafts Conference and Shows, the display cases, small group discussions, and seminars will once again make this “the most important weekend of the year for Arts and Crafts collectors.”
For more information, please go to www.Arts-CraftsConference.com.