At the end of 2018, Tina Aufiero will step down as Pilchuck's artistic director to focus on her own artistic practice. In her six years in this leading role, Aufiero has expanded the techniques taught at the Pilchuck Glass School to include emerging digital technologies such as 3-D printers, robotics, and scanners. She's also redefined the institution's relationship with the glass pipe-making world, embracing its technical innovations and their application to art-making, as well as initiating partnerships to offer glass art programs to underserved communities. Aufiero will not only stay through the end of this year, she will be planning the courses for 2019 as well.
“Tina has been a leading force in identifying emerging talents to teach, collaborating with nontraditional glass artists to inspire new methods, and recognizing partnerships that have introduced Pilchuck’s mission to new audiences,” said Pilchuck's newly installed executive director Christopher Taylor in a prepared statement. “Tina is in the process of curating our 2019 programs and we are excited to have her imprint on the organization for another year. We truly thank her for her service to the school.”
“Experimentation is a pillar of the Pilchuck experience,” Aufiero said in a prepared statement. “At the forefront of my mind in programming has been to give students opportunities to experiment and forge new pathways in their artistic processes.”
In her tenure, Aufiero expanded Pilchuck's audience through collaborations with the Chrysler Museum of Art and Schack Art Center to showcase the school’s vitreographic print collection. In 2017, helped to develop the Murano Residency that sent six glassblowing students to the island off Venice to learn in traditional glass factories.
Aufiero has a long relationship with Pilchuck, which she traces back nearly 40 years. First coming to Pilchuck Glass School as a student: “My first year at Pilchuck in 1979 was such an eye opener,” she says, “back then, programming was less formal. Pilchuck was
always a highlight for me; this unwieldy naturally evolving creature that inspired so many artists including myself. Even as an
instructor I found inspiration here.”
She has returned often over the years before stepping in, first as Interim artistic director, then as full artistic director in 2013.
“My time with Pilchuck Glass School has been an incredible professional adventure, a position I’ve been honored to hold," Aufiero says. "However, I’m looking forward to refocusing my energy and dedicating more time to my own art.”
Pilchuck will begin the search for its next artistic director by the beginning of 2019.
“One of the greatest testaments to Pilchuck’s history is its place in cultivating future generations of glass artists," says executive director Taylor. "It’s an exciting time for Pilchuck to begin thinking about what’s next for the field of glass. We are poised for the next creative mind to continue taking our programs further.”