Executive Director of the Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA), Megan McElfresh has dedicated her professional life to community service and the art and science of stained glass. With a background in fine arts and operations management, she joined the Association as a professional member in 2015 and became the Executive Director in the fall of 2017.
Growing up in small stained glass studios, McElfresh continued to build on her technical skills in the medium by seeking mentorship opportunities throughout college. Some of the highlights of her glass studies were traveling to Pilchuck Glass School and time spent at the nationally recognized kilnforming resource center, Vitrum Studio. Prior to working with the SGAA, McElfresh worked in a variety of roles from operations management at a life sciences firm in Washington, D.C. to IT and web support for small non-profit art organizations.
In 2011, McElfresh moved from Northern Virginia to Buffalo, New York, and founded her studio, McElf GlassWorks. With a passion for her professional career as well as her new community, she never turned down an opportunity to collaborate with neighborhood teens and local programs to provide enthusiastic and creative educational enrichment. In her personal work, McElfresh uses her artwork in the advocacy of issues she became passionate about during her time working at a forensics laboratory concerning subjects like domestic violence and rape, and DNA backlogs. Her studio work has been featured in the Stained Glass Quarterly, Design NY, The Buffalo News, and Buffalo Rising.
With a background in operations management and art history, McElfresh is uniquely qualified in her role as leader for the National Trade Association as it approaches its 125th anniversary of service to the industry. In her role with the SGAA, she focuses on sowing the seeds of long-term change and strengthening the organization’s core programs. She endeavors to showcase the Association as a hub for the industry through strong partnerships with manufacturers, preservation and stewardship groups, and education centers. By bringing together the nation’s foremost architectural art glass studios in technical skill and integrity, the Stained Glass Association’s cumulative knowledge can be combined for the benefit of all who are tasked with the care and investment of our nation’s stained glass.
Approaching its 125th anniversary, the SGAA is headquartered in a new cooperative office space where staff can serve along with others working toward a similar mission. McElfresh remains enthusiastic about the SGAA’s renewed vision. For more than 100 years, the organization has held its annual summer conference, serving a vital role in the industry by bringing together artists and studios from across the country to exchange ideas and perspectives. The SGAA’s 111th Annual Summer Conference will be held June 27 – 30, 2022 in Toledo, Ohio.
Says McElfresh: “Each year’s national conference provides an educational and creative hub for glass artists, historians, manufacturers, and architects. Whether you’re an established studio or just learning stained glass; if you’re an architect or building caretaker; if you’re making public art or small panels for private homes, SGAA’s conferences have something for you. Please plan on joining your friends and colleagues both familiar and new for an inspirational and thought-provoking conference that will bring every facet of our industry together in celebration.”