With grants from The National Endowment for the Humanities and The Ohio Arts/Humanities Councils, Sugden and Elchert produced the ambient film for PBS TV, White Lotus: An Introduction to Tibetan Culture. Published by Snow Lion, the companion book White Lotus was edited by Elchert and featured scholarly explanations, as well as travel journals and members’ photographs/artwork from the six-month 1988 Cultural Arts Expedition. Elchert organized a lecture tour of universities at the same time that White Lotus was aired on PBS stations nationally. Inspired by the use of film as an educational tool, the couple filmed the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the guest speaker for the University of Findlay’s Leadership Day in 1991.
Sugden’s 2001 book—Visions from the Fields of Merit: Drawings of Tibet & the Himalaya—co-authored by Elchert, was supported by private and corporate contributions. Both have taught university art and communication courses for over 30 years. Formerly Chair of the Art Dept. at Bluffton University, Sugden’s paintings/drawings and Elchert’s photography have been exhibited nationally (New York, Pittsburg, Washington) & internationally (Paris, London, Melbourne, Nepal).