Museum of Glass (Takoma, WA)

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      Artist in long work gloves shaping hot glass.

Artist Mitchell Gaudet applies the finishing touches to a sculpture in the Museum of Glass hot shop. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Glass

Although glass making might often be thought of more as a craft than an art form, the Museum of Glass, which opened in July 2002, celebrates the contribution glass artists have made to contemporary art. In its three galleries and surrounding outdoor space, the museum presents exhibitions and installations in glass, mixed media with glass, and in other media by internationally recognized artists, bringing in more than 170,000 people annually. The museum also houses the world’s largest hot shop amphitheater, which allows visitors to watch as many renowned and emerging guest artists create their artworks.

In FY 2006, the Museum of Glass received an NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grant of $35,000 for its 2006 Visiting Artist Program in which 20 artists from both the United States and around the world participated in five-day residencies at the museum.

Celebrated Czech artist René Roubícek’s residency from April 12-16 coincided with the exhibition, Czech Glass, 1945 – 1980: Design in an Age of Adversity. During his residency, Roubícek worked with fellow Czech artists Petr Novotny and Jirí Pacinek in the museum’s hot shop, creating bowls and vases, glass clarinets, and 10-foot-tall glass columns. All three artists participated in a panel discussion on their experiences working in the changing Czech political environment.

During another artist residency in August 2006, Mitchell Gaudet created a series of bowls and house forms with shapes, colors, and textures inspired by the ruined areas of New Orleans, his hometown. His personal photographs taken of both the destruction and recovery efforts in New Orleans were displayed on a big screen in the hot shop while he worked.

(From the NEA 2006 Annual Report)