Tuesday April 19, 2022 | by Sadia Tasnim

Tacoma readies itself to host the first in-person GAS conference since 2019

In just about one-month's time, the Glass Art Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary at its first in-person international conference in two years. For the first time since 2019, the international glass tribe will be convening in Tacoma, Washington, for an event themed “Between Here and There”. The concept is to honor the past half-century since the organization was founded (technically it kicked off 51-years ago with a 19-person gathering at Penland in 1971 [see the feature article "Power in Numbers" in the Spring 2022 edition of Glass #166]), but the pandemic has been pushing big anniversaries a year ahead (see Pilchuck's 50th anniversary, for example). The conference will not only be looking backwards, but in presentations and spirit, it also seeks to peer ahead into what the next 50 years might bring.

Running from May 18 through the 22nd, the event packs lectures, demos, and various panel discussions in to three days of events divided between the main venues of the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, Area 253 Glassblowing, and the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

Museum of Glass executive director Debbie Lenk pointed to the emergence of Seattle's neighboring city of Tacoma as an equally important center for glass in her prepared comments: “The conference is a wonderful moment to welcome the GAS community and showcase Tacoma’s place in glass history past and present -- including the Museum of Glass and other gems like Chihuly Bridge of Glass, Tacoma Museum District, and Hilltop Artists.”

Brandi P. Clark, the executive director of GAS, feels the 2022 program will be a showcase of new voices in the field “We have gathered an outstanding line-up of presenters this year that showcases the diversity of our community and medium,” she said in a prepared statement. 

The 2022 conference will feature international presenters from 17 nations across the globe. Spread across multiple venues in downtown Tacoma, the conference will include lectures, demos, lecmos, performances, film screenings, and exhibitions from top researchers, artists, and experts from the glass world. From Mark Abildgaard to Susan Gott to Jiyong Lee, the list of names attending this year’s conference spans continents, cultures, and perspectives.

Some of the highlights of the just-published program include the Lifetime Achievement  Lecture by award-winer Judith Schaechter; a panel discussion about indigenous artists moderated by Benjamin Wright and featuring artists Raya Friday, Dan Friday, Preston Singletary, and Tomas Colbengtson; a presentation of Grace Whiteside and Liesel Schubel's ongoing "Homosilica" project, and a community panel discussion led by Corey Pemberton and featuring James Vella, Amira Rogers, Trenton Quiocho, Deaunata Holman.

For more information about the GAS 2022 conference and to view the full line-up of presenters, visit:

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.