Hundreds of magicians will converge on St. Louis during the week of June 30 to choose a North American Champion of Magic and to celebrate The 113th US Congress recognizing Magic as an Art
Will the famed St. Louis Arch disappear this week? Probably not, but many other mystical happenings are sure to abound as the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians hold their combined international convention at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel July 1-5. The last time these two organizations held a combined convention was in 2008.
This year, the magicians have something to be proud of. Recently, S.A.M. President Dal Sanders was able to get Congressional recognition for magic as an art. Since the Society's founding in 1902, one goal of the S.A.M has been to advance and elevate magic as an art. Since the 1960s, the Society has been trying to get Congressional recognition for the "Art of Magic". While many states and localities have issued Magic Week proclamations recognizing magic as an art, the federal government has not.
In late April, Sanders pulled off quite the trick. With the help of Wylie Mayor Eric Hogue (also a S.A.M. member), Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions put into the Congressional Record a Recognition of the Art of Magic. This recognition is very important according to Sanders. "When considered for grants, magic in the U-S has been seen as a hobby or at best, a craft. This is not the case in other countries. For example, in the late 60s Doug Henning won a grant from the Canadian Council for the Arts to study magic. In Canada, as in many other countries, they recognized magic as an art form. Henning's grant led to the show that would eventually become the Broadway Hit THE MAGIC SHOW."
Sanders says this is a first step, but he is encouraged about the future. "Congressman Pete Sessions and his staff, as well as other members of congress have pledged their help in taking the next step. They will help magicians obtain grants from agencies that use federal money. They will help us explore how to draft resolutions that can protect our intellectual property from theft and gratuitous exposure. Congressman Sessions, an Eagle Scout himself, is even willing to approach the Boy Scouts of America to help us establish a Merit Badge."
About The S.A.M
Founded in 1902, the Society of American Magicians is the world's oldest magic organization. The Society has grown from 24 people in New York City to thousands of members around the world in 250 chapters or Assemblies. The Society is also the most prestigious in magic, counting most of the biggest names in magic as members: Harry Houdini (who was national president for 9 years), Howard Thurston (another president), Harry Blackstone, Sr., Harry Blackstone, Jr., Orson Wells and David Copperfield.
Full Text of Congressional Record
IN RECOGNITION OF THE ART OF MAGIC -- HON. PETE SESSIONS (Extensions of Remarks - April 28, 2014)
HON. PETE SESSIONS OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Monday, April 28, 2014
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of one of my constituents, Dal Sanders, National President of The Society of American Magicians, to recognize magic as an art.
The art of magic has been around for centuries and is intended to entertain audiences with the staging of tricks and creating seemingly impossible illusions. Throughout its history, magic has grown to show innovative and creative ways to delight and engage audiences worldwide. It takes a great deal of dedication and a strong work ethic to devote the practice time necessary to master this art.
I would specifically like to take this opportunity to recognize the world's oldest magic organization, The Society of American Magicians, S A M. Since its founding in 1902, The S.A.M. has attempted to elevate and advance the art of magic by promoting an environment for magicians worldwide to come together and share their passion. The S.A.M. members follow in the footsteps of renowned magicians Harry Houdini and Howard Thurston, who each served as national president of The S.A.M., and Harry Blackstone, Jr., and David Copperfield, who both have served as The S.A.M. ambassadors.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my esteemed colleagues to join me in recognizing the art of magic.