Wednesday February 3, 2021 | by Andrew Page

AWARD: Amber Cowan named a 2021 USA Fellow, will receive $50,000 unrestricted award

United States Artists, a unique funding organization formed in 2006 "to illuminate the value of artists to American society and address their economic challenges," announced its list of 2021 USA Fellows today. With an unrestricted $50,000 cash award, the fellowship recognizes artists from every media for their "bold artistic vision and their contributions to the field." Artist and educator Amber Cowan is among this year's 60 fellows, and she joins an illustrious list of glass artists that have previously been recognized that includes Beth Lipman, Einar de la Torre & Jamex de la Torre, Sibylle Peretti, Judith Schaechter, Joyce J. Scott, Mary Shaffer, Therman Statom and April Surgent. 

Amber Cowan, Dance of the Pacific Coast Highway at Sunset, 2019. Flameworked American pressed glass/mixed media. H 34, W 46, D 12 1/2 in. courtesy: heller galler
The Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet reached Cowan earlier today to ask her how she is feeling after receiving this major award. "It feels really incredible to be a part of this group of artists," the artist said in an email exchange. "The five other artists chosen in Crafts in particular are an enormously dynamic and inspiring group of makers. They are all using craft-based practices but their work really pushes into many worlds. I am so thankful to United States Artists for this fellowship and the team behind all of their hard work."

Asked what this generous award will mean for her art practice, Cowan spoke about new opportunities that have opened up thanks to the funding. "There have been a few larger-scale and long term projects that I have had in the back of my mind for a while," she said. "I am excited to have some freedom to explore and experiment as well as delve into some historic preservation projects dealing with the materials I use such as the old glass, molds, and patterns used to create my work. I have a pretty disciplined practice and that will not change but I am looking forward to trying out some exploratory avenues."

Cowan, who also teaches at the glass program at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University in Philadelphia, added that the pandemic makes it difficult to predict exactly how she will proceed, but she is confident her singular focus on her art will continue and take shape. "Obviously, this past year has been so strange for everyone," she says. "It's hard to say how the future will look as everything is so uncertain at the moment but I am glad to have a focus and glass as we all know will always keep us on our toes!"

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.