Membership Spotlight on the Imagine Museum by Nicole Roberts
| Published on January 10, 2020
It all started with just 500 American Studio Glass and International Glass Art pieces from the American Studio Glass movement (original galleries shown below). Now, the collection has grown to include more than 2000 pieces in 2020 to help tell the story of the American Glass Movement to the world through the Imagine Museum.
Prior to the 1960s, all glass was mass-produced in large factories, the intended purposes being utility rather than art. If an artist did want to create a glass piece, they would have to find a factory that would allow them to come to use their furnaces. But that all changed in 1962 when Harvey Littleton created the first furnace for melting glass designed small enough to fit within an artist’s studio. For the first time, artists were able to create glass artwork in their own studios rather than having to go to a factory. Shortly after the creation of the first studio glass furnace, Littleton started the first glass graduate program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He and his eight students (one of them being the notable glass artist Dale Chihuly) truly started the American Glass Movement.
What surprised me the most walking through the Imagine Museum was the range of styles that these glass artists can produce. There were pieces made to look like clay, like the one made by William Morris pictured below, to miniature replicas of everyday scenes (see the piece by Emily Brock below). There’s even a piece created in collaboration with NASA scientist that has a pattern running on a screen in the back that is changing constantly and never repeats itself, so every moment a viewer sees it is unique and will never be seen again, which I beg every reader to take a trip to the Imagine Museum to see themselves.
In my conversation with Nataliya Scarberry, the Assistant Director of Education and Event Management and member of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, we discussed just how special every piece is, that the lighting and surroundings can make the piece unique to every person that sees it. She educated me on the creation of glass art, explaining that it is just as much of a science as it is an art. Walking around and seeing all innovative approaches to creating glass art, whether it is stretching it until it looks like thread or adding elements to make it look more opaque, is intensely inspiring and enlightening on what all we can do when we put our minds to it. Because of this and the beautiful modern feel inside, I think the Imagine Museum lends itself to being a great location for corporate events. If you are interested in learning more, contact Nataliya Scarberry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re ready to be awed by the wonder of glass art, then I recommend you attend one of their After-Hours events on the third Friday of every month. For their first event of 2020, they will be featuring a Buddha Bar theme in celebration of Karen LaMonte’s Floating World exhibition move to the Grand Hall. Join them on January 24th from 6:30-9 pm for live violin, DJ, and light bites from their Curated Restaurant Partner, Ichicoro.
In 2020, we at the Downtown Partnership want you to see where your imagination can take you when you visit the Imagine Museum! Check them out at 1901 Central Avenue!