Monday, October 22, 2012

“It Will Be Your Window, It Will Be Our Best Window”

Conservatory Window. Photograph by Janet Akcakal.

Most anything is possible—particularly when you combine the idea of a simple “pickle jar” with the enthusiastic spirit of an entire group of Martin House volunteers. Through their inspiration and support, our tireless volunteers embarked on a quiet fundraising campaign with the goal of purchasing a “single-stem” window for the conservatory building of the Martin House Complex.  What was once a missing piece of original Frank Lloyd Wright-designed art glass lost to the throes of history is now a beautifully crafted light screen replicated for the Martin House by the Oakbrook Esser Studios.  Board President John N. Walsh, III made the announcement at a special presentation held at last week’s Martin House Volunteer Recognition Party where the completed window was formally unveiled and subsequently installed on site.  Mr. Walsh expressed our collective gratitude best when he gave the following remarks, which have been redacted for reprint here:

left to right:  John N. Walsh, III (board president); Richard Chamberlin (volunteer); Maggie Cammarata (museum store associate); and Mary Roberts (executive director).  Photograph by Bernhard C. Wagner.

“Thank you for inviting me to your party! ... A wise woman, my Mom, urges us to ask this question when our personal temperature is rising or when setting priorities in a stress-filled day.  The question is, “Will this really matter a year from now?” Well, what we are about to discuss right now will definitely matter a year from now, ten years from now, fifty years from now, and as long as the Martin House flourishes in our community, and greatly because of what we are about to talk about.  So what is it? Well first, it’s an honor, beyond words, to be here and to be almost ready to talk about that thing that will matter a year from now.  Because, once again, the fabulous Martin House volunteers, the best volunteer army in the free world, the over-worked, underpaid, under-saluted but deeply loved fans of Frank--you, all of you, have, just as you have done for so many years, spectacularly done it again! ...Totally funded by the fabulous Martin House volunteers, because of you—the envied by all other non-profits Gang of 400—the very first replica window for the conservatory has been created and is now ready for installation. Hooray! As you know, this was a one hundred percent volunteer effort.  It first sprang from the fertile minds of Maggie Cammaratta and Rich Chamberlain…. And so, thanks to Maggie and Rich, the Pickle Jar Campaign was created! Rich brought in the jar. Maggie made the sign, and the project was officially kicked off at the volunteer business meeting back on April 5, 2008 …. In ten days, you and they had raised sixty dollars…. One gift was a generous one thousand dollars. Others were equally generous at lesser amounts…. In all, a total of $11,668.19 was raised, and a single-stem conservatory window has been beautifully produced by Oakbrook Esser and arrived just a few days ago at the site. It will be installed towards the north end of the conservatory directly adjacent to the door closest to the Wisteria Shop entry. It will be your window. It will be our best window. It will be right there, every time you walk by. Mostly, it will remain evergreen in our hearts as a reflection of spectacular devotion and generosity.  It does matter and will do so for years. Mary [Roberts] and I, amidst the millions raised, have agreed that it’s the best gift we have ever received.  We humbly thank you on behalf of the entire Martin House family.”

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