Monday March 28, 2022 | by Urban Glass

The Bead Project, a long-standing UrbanGlass program, celebrates 25 years of transforming lives

On April 27, 2022, UrbanGlass will honor Bead Project founder Annette Rose-Shapiro and the unique outreach program she founded in 1997, with an evening cocktail reception and fundraiser to celebrate the 25-year anniversary. The Bead Project is a 10-week scholarship program designed for creatively inclined women (including ciswomen, transwomen, and femme-identified non-binary folks). Students learn the art of glass beadmaking as well as entrepreneurial skills to provide new economic opportunities and a powerful outlet for creative expression.

The Bead Project "offers students a transformative experience, new tools for self-expression, and the skills to turn glass beadmaking into a supplemental form of income, while becoming a part of a dynamic creative community," according to an invite to the event.

In her "Reflection" essay in the current print edition (Spring 2022, Glass #166), Rose-Shapiro charted her personal discovery of glass beadmaking, an area with rich traditions and at scale that made it more accessible to beginners like herself. As she quickly became more proficient and began to sell her own work, Rose-Shapiro saw that glass beads might also offer an economic opportunity for some of the women who she had met at UrbanGlass open-house events in Downtown Brooklyn.

L to R: BeadProject founder Annette Rose-Shapiro, Loretta Valero, Rosita Walsh, and Ifé Vanderpool.
"It occurred to me that there were probably a lot of women who could benefit from an additional source of income," Rose-Shapiro writes. "Who, for whatever reason, weren't suited for traditional work situations because of childcare needs or or other challenges that kept them from a 9-to-5 workweek."

The April 27th event will also recognize artist, author, and educator Paul J. Stankard, who was an early and generous supporter of the Bead Project.  

"One of the great things that happened was the involvement of Paul Stankard," Rose-Shapiro recounted, citing his willingness to travel from South Jersey to Brooklyn one Saturday each month to teach a special session. "He taught us a lot about flameworking techniques, and supported the group by purchasing some of their work."

The April 27, 2022, event will take place at the UrbanGlass studios at 647 Fulton Street, and will run from 6 PM to 9 PM. The event co-chairs are UrbanGlass board members Rob Cantave and Erica Rosenfeld.

To learn more about this event, review sponsorship opportunities, or purchase tickets, please visit the 25th Anniversary Benefit Celebration for the Bead Project's event page.

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.