A week or so before Christmas, The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass reopened its doors to the public, offering visitors entering the new marquee entrance a gleaming new reception desk and facilities for the museum's popular Make Your Own Glass activities. A bank of brand-new sandblasting machines were arranged beside tall crafting tables, where visitors could apply various resists to create a custom design. Assisted glassblowing activities have been expanded thanks to the new modular areas where benches are set up, available to museumgoers or professionals depending on the time of year.
Studio director Amy Schwartz told the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet that the intent of the total studio renovation was to expand the space for the public, but to do so in ways that would allow artists and students to also use them as demand fluctuated. The four new glassblowing "pods" are a perfect example. "POD 1 and 2 are expanded spaces for Make Your Own Glass activities," she said in a telephone interview. "PODS 3 and 4, could be for visitors, but in the winter, they could also be artist rentals or a studio for groups to have events, or resident artists to use."
In the photos of the renovated space, PODs 3 and 4 are less colorfully marked, so as not to be as closely connected visually with the rest of the "Make-Your-Own" areas. "PODs 3 and 4 you will notice are a little more subdued, those are flex spaces, and PODS 1 and 2 are primarily for the public," said Schwartz.
While the focus of the first phase of construction was the public-facing side of The Studio, work has also been completed on facilities that will be available to 2024 artists in residence, professional renters, instructors, and students.
"Phase Two is more about artists and casting," said Schwartz, pointing out that while the new Visitor's entry cube is completed, the old Studio entrance is going to be reconfigured as the artist and student entry. Already, a dedicated space for artist residents has been completed, offering modular spaces for everything from informal meals to meeting rooms and quiet areas for research.
"We will have new space for artists and students, including a dedicated engraving shop, a neon space, an expanded cold shop, a new space for technology such as 3D printers and CNC machines, a wood shop and metal shop, as well as a lunch room and meeting space," said Schwartz.
The newly opened Southern entrance to the Studio, with its new cube structure, was purpose-built for visitors, but by the end of this year, the old studio entrance will have been reconfigured for the students and professional artists, offering a different entry point to the space and an architectural statement that the building serves more than one constituency. Though the renovation isn't completed, the space is ready for the 2024 Artist Residents and professional renters, though the brand-new Glassmaking Institute (a multi-year certificate program to be led by Richard Whiteley) will not debut until 2024. The call for applications will go out in 2024, however, with the anticipated first classes to convene in Fall 2025.
"The two hotshops and the flameshop are not changing, so people can still work in those," said Schwartz. "There’s a big push to get renovated kilnworking spaces done between February and June 1st so they will be ready when our summer classes will start."
Another dimension of The Studio renovations is that the new facilities will help to foster the community of employees who help the public with their Make Your Own Glass activities. Schwartz said a goal is to provide support and facilities for this potential pool of new glass artists.
"One of the things we're trying to do is also grow the glass community," she said. "When we hire people in the summer, we would like to also give them extra training. They can have classes with RIchard and Bill (Gudenrath) outside of their work so that being in Corning for the summer didn't just mean working "Make-Your-Own." It also means having some practice time available, getting some one-on-one time with Bill or Richard, and helping to grow."