In 1960 Gladys attended the first teachers national organization in Dallas, Texas a charter member.  It was the beginning of an association, which is still dear to her heart.  Twenty years later Gladys would be elected as president of IPAT (International Porcelain Art Teachers) with members in 38 countries.

 

Gladys also became a founding member of the Michigan China Painting Teachers Organization and a charter member of the World China Painting Organization. She was the honored guest of the Michigan group’s convention in Frankenmuth, Mi in 2001.

 

When Gladys was nominated for the presidency of IPAT Harold was fighting a losing battle with colon cancer.  He insisted that she accept the position.  Harold died in February 1978 and Gladys was installed in July of that year.  It was a difficult 2-year term for her as Harold had always been by her side.  But she had the full support of her fellow teachers, artists and family.

 

Gladys felt a strong obligation to promote the art and reach as many teachers as she could.  This meant traveling at her own expense to many countries – sharing her talents and enthusiasm.  In the 2 years she coordinated six regional conventions in United States and organized and attended conventions in South America, Central America, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  She spearheaded an awesome project of getting a resolution through Congress to recognizing porcelain painting as a fine art.  It passed and was signed by the President in 1980.  She said it would never happened without the help of everyone!  Her term ended with the IPAT International Convention held in 1980 at the renaissance Center in Detroit, Mi.  It was a huge success with over 10,000 people attending from around the world.  Gladys remained active on the board of directors for 15 years at which time she was honored as Director Emeritus.

 

Shortly after her term as IPAT President was over Gladys was invited to have her name submitted to be a member of the Board of Trustees for People to People International.  There are only 61members from around the world with the United States President as Honorary Chairman.  When she asked what she could do she was told her contact with the art world was needed.  For the next 15 years Gladys had the honor to serve as an ambassador for the arts.

 

“There are no language barriers in the arts.” She said, “Visual and performing arts need no words, it is understood by everyone, and a smile says it all.”

 

Gladys’ trip to China in 1982 was the first one allowed for a group of artists.  The Chinese people were still wearing black uniforms but their smiles were beautiful. 

 

President Reagan requested that each board member try to arrange a trip to the Soviet Union.  The Cold War was still on and Gladys was reluctant, but got a group together to go to East Germany and the Soviet Union.  It was an unforgettable trip with some tense moments but with the arts communicating in a wonderful way.  The end result was that two Soviet artists were allowed to come to the 1990 IPAT Convention in United States.  Gladys was also allowed to bring them to Caro for her community to share.

 

People to People Trips to Italy, the Scandinavian countries and many others were all opportunities to share artists’ talents and promote understanding.  In between trips Gladys still kept classes along with seminars, inviting teachers she had met abroad to share their talents. She spent 6 years coordinating the Porcelain Art School at Delta College in Saginaw, Mi. She coordinated teachers to help children paint tiles for the Oklahoma City Bombing memorial, was a guest artist in Portugal and is listed In Who’s Who of American Women In the Arts.

 

By 1990 Gladys had traveled to every state in United States, visited all the continents except Antarctica and participated in Royal Viking cruise enrichment programs to England and Alaska.  When someone asked her when she was going to retire she answered, ”I don’t know, I never have been to work!  It is a privilege to share the talents God gave me and I am so blessed to have a wonderful family, beautiful friends in my home town and around the world.”

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