The Pacific Northwest has played a major role in the Studio Glass movement as it developed around the world. A conversation between artist Dale Chihuly, who had grown up in Tacoma, Washington, and Dr. Phil Phibbs, the retired president of the University of Puget sound, gave birth to the idea of having a glass museum in Tacoma.
It is sometimes said that creativity involves putting two concepts together in a unique way. In this case, the idea of the Museum was combined with the redevelopment of the Thea Foss Waterway, an empty industrial wasteland. The idea of a glass museum coincided well with the need for a dynamic anchor tenant on the restored waterway. Thus, the Museum of Glass (MOG) became dedicated to the study of glass at the epicenter of the Studio Glass Movement.
Initially, the Museum was conceived as focusing solely on the work of Dale Chihuly and his influence on the Studio Glass Movement. Chihuly, however, insisted that the Museum’s mission should include works in glass by artists worldwide.
“The Museum of Glass provides a dynamic learning environment to appreciate the medium of glass through creative experiences, collections and exhibitions.”
“It is the vision of the Museum to engage the broadest range of visitors; to foster an environment of innovation, creativity, and learning; and to be a steward of the story of glass. This vision is realized through the Hot Shop, as well as exhibitions in the galleries, art installations, and diverse educational programs. Visitors immerse in the creative process of making art from glass will understand and be able to share the importance of art in their lives and communities.”
The Hot Shop
In the Hot Shop visitors can watch glassblowing in action. Since the Museum opened, more than 350 artists have had an opportunity to experiment and explore aspects of their work in the Hot Shop. The museum residency program at MOG has an average of 40 Visiting Artists per year. As a part of their residency, artists donate one of the pieces they create to the Museum’s collections. Some of these pieces are displayed on the balcony of the Hot Shop.
Out of the Vault
According to the display:
“Museum collections are held in public trust—each object is protected by high standards of care with the goal of sharing it with future generations through exhibitions and research. Museum of Glass’ (MOG) collections are continually growing to represent the vibrant and evolving ways the medium of glass is used to make art.”
Kids Design Glass
The Kids Design Glass program of the Museum of Glass invites children 12 and under to design a glass sculpture. Each month, one or two entries are selected by the Museum’s Hot Shop Team. Two glass objects are created—one for the child designer and one for the Museum’s collection.
Native American Artists
The Northwest Coast is a region in which an entrenched and highly valued artistic tradition flourished. Among the highly developed art traditions were basketry and carving. A special residency program at the Museum of Glass allowed traditional artists to explore the medium of Studio Glass.
A bridge connects MOG to Union Station and to the State Historical Society Museum.
Museum of Glass: Kids Design Glass (Art Diary)
Museum of Glass: The Hot Shop (Photo Diary)
Museum of Glass: Spotlight on Dale Chihuly (Art Diary)
Museum of Glass: Gathering the Light (Art Diary)
Museum of Glass: Out of the Vault (Art Diary)
Museum of Glass: Hot Shop Art (Art Diary
Museum of Glass: The Venetian Wall (Art Diary)
Museum of Glass: Seaform Pavilion (Art Diary)