Effective February 2018, James Baker, who has served as the executive director of the Pilchuck Glass School for seven years, will step down from the top staff position at this influential Washington State arts center with locations in Stanwood and Seattle. Baker's appointment in the summer of 2010 ushered in a period of stability and growth at Pilchuck, after the brief tenure of his immediate successor, Arthur Jacobus, who resigned in December 2009 after taking over just a year earlier from the long-serving Patricia Watkinson. Under Baker's watch, Pilchuck added a Pioneer Square exhibition gallery in Seattle's arts district, while also upgrading and making its studios and shops in the main location in Stanwood more energy efficient. Pilchuck, and by extension Baker, was recognized with a 2016 Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass Organization Award, which specifically credited the leadership of its executive director.
The Glass Art Society is looking for a new operations and program manager, a newly created position. This individual would report to the artist-organization's Seattle-based executive director, Pamela Koss, and assist her in all matters concerning the day-to-day operation of GAS. Additional responsibilities include managing and serving as a primary staff contact for work exchange and volunteer programs, ensuring office security and organization, and serving as a staff representative to certain board committees and preparing their reports, among other duties.
When Kathleen Mulcahy and husband Ron Desmett founded the Pittsburgh Glass Center in 2001, Desmett, then a painter and ceramist, had never made glass work of his own before. That changed in 2002 when Mulcahy tasked artists from other materials to “think in glass,” as she told the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet, for a show at the Glass Center called "Artists Crossing Lines." Ron came back with the decision to blow opaque black glass vessels shaped inside hollowed out tree trunks, a body of work that would come to define his practice until his death in December 2016. “[Glass] changed his life,” she said, “and from that moment where he thought about that work in 2002 – that work is the work that is in the Tacoma Museum [of Glass], the Smithsonian, and the Corning Museum, and the Carnegie Museum. It’s unbelievable – that moment of saying guess what, nothing is impossible.”
The Corning Museum of Glass has announced that Karlyn Sutherland of Scotland will be this year’s recipient of the Rakow Commission, which gives emerging glass artists who are not yet included in the museum’s holdings the opportunity to create new work that is then added to institution’s permanent collection. Holding multiple graduate degrees (a 2008 Masters in Architecture from Edinburgh College of Art, and a 2014 PhD from the University of Edinburgh), Sutherland’s work is unique, especially in the context of the Rakow Commission for a number of reasons. Not only is she the first recipient since 1999 to be mainly focused on fused glass, but her use of perspective, which comes directly from her background in architecture, can be mystifying if not viewed up close. Susie Silbert, Corning’s curator of modern and contemporary glass, had her first encounter with Sutherland’s work while jurying a recent edition of New Glass Review. In a telephone exchange, she told the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet that at first, “we didn’t think it was actually glass. We thought it was actually a rendering of glass.” However, upon closer inspection in person, she was astounded at the work’s ability to bring forth ideas of place, perspective, and illusion.
The National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia will feature Separation, a sculpture by Jen Blazina as part of its 18th annual glass auction and gala coming up on October 7, 2017. The museum fundraiser not only supports this unique institution that sees a linkage between the material of glass and the concept of freedom, but also calls attention to the work of community role models, as well as spotlights the philanthropic efforts of an individual artist. This year’s honorees are Sandy and Steve Sheller, who funded the Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple University Beasley School of Law, The Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center of Drexel University, and The Stephen and Sandra Sheller Commons of the South Philadelphia Free Library. This year’s "artist hero" is Pearl Dick, who co-founded Project Fire, an initiative to use glassblowing as a healing and mentoring, and job-creating tool for trauma victims and young victims of gun violence.
The Contemporary Glass Society announced the winners of its "2017 Glass Prize," a contest conducted by the Society for recent glass-art graduates in the U.K. The first place winner, Phöebe Tan of University College Falmouth, will receive a £250 cash prize; £250 in warm glass vouchers; a feature article in the 16-page publication Graduate Review distributed to the entire CGS membership; a two-year membership to the CGS; and other benefits.
When Daphne Farago, a lifelong benefactor and supporter of Studio Craft, died on March 8, 2017, she left her collection of over 100 pieces to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. During her lifetime, Farago donated almost 1,000 objects to the museum, mostly made up of jewelry and textile pieces, though she also donated a substantial amount of ceramics, glass, wood, metal, and folk art. In 2012, she gave the museum their largest donation ever, totaling 161 craft objects. “Mrs. Farago really collected across the spectrum of craft,” Emily Zilber, curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, told the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet. “Her gifts have transformed what we do, and have really made craft much more visible at the museum because we have them.”
A new show at S12 Gallery this month will see experimental glass artist Justin Ginsberg using household objects to explore a personal issue: the constraints of domesticity. Opening on August 4th, "Considerations and Ants" features a series of drawings, installations, videos, and objects created over the course of a summer-long residency at the Norwegian studio and gallery. Though this marks something of an aesthetic break from the artist's past work, the new exhibition continues his efforts to challenge viewers' assumptions about common structures by confronting the limitations the home can impose on freedom -- both as a physical cage and a source of financial confinement.
Traver Gallery in Seattle is honoring its historical lineage with its 40th anniversary group exhibition this month, but the focus of its two upcoming exhibits in August is decidedly forward-looking. Straying from its long history as a premier gallery for top-tier glass artists such as Lino Tagliapietra, Traver Gallery will open two exhibits by experimental artists this evening, timed to the opening of the Seattle Art Fair. John Kiley, known for his intense style of breaking glass, will open alongside artist couple Matthew Szosz and Anna Mlasowsky, who push the limitations of the material through the unconventionality of their work. This is the couple's first exhibit at Traver Gallery.
Dani Montague first thought of opening a gallery devoted to glass art two decades ago, but it wasn't until her retirement from a career with March of Dimes, where she served as vice president of philanthropy, that she was able to realize her dream. This past February, Montague proudly unlocked the doors of Montague Gallery in San Francisco's Union Square area, home to many established galleries, for an opening reception that also served as a benefit for the Pilchuck Glass School. “I came from the nonprofit world, so I thought it would be great to launch my new business, my new art gallery, with a benefit,” she said in a telephone interview with GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet.