I recently had to give a presentation to the Pinellas County art teachers about glass art education at Imagine Museum and what students would get from our tours in the Museum.
What does happen when children K-12 visit this contemporary studio glass museum? What are the student’s reaction to glass art? What is the experience like for them?
As one who has been involved with arts education my entire career, there are many exploratory, sensory and aesthetic experiences for students who go to art museums.
Area of Investigation: Glass, the Material of Mankind
What our goals are for students who come to our Museum is No. 1, to get an introduction to the material of glass, its origin of sand, and the many breakthroughs, inventions, research, and knowledge that have been attained by our species, as a result of this simple, ordinary material. From vessels to windows, to eyeglasses, telescopes, microscopes, photography, and mirrors, we have been allowed to see our universe as well as into our own eyes. As we like to say, “From stardust to the creatives of today, glass has impacted our lives beyond our own imagination.” We invite the students to “imagine” with us how glass has influenced their lives.
Area of Investigation: The Artist, Vision, and Process
No. 2: We also want the students to walk away with an idea of what it means to be called an artist. Many people believe old notions that artists sit around all day creating, with no responsibility or accountability for their lives. Wouldn’t that be nice if it were true? Successful artists are disciplined in their craft for the fabrication or realization of their art whether it is painting or sculpture, video or photography. Most go to college or study with a mentor to learn about the materials, what the materials are capable of doing; they study design theory, art theory, and color theory to understand the components that will carry their ideas forward on a visual plane. Artists are committed to creating the work, but also ensuring the research, the execution, the representation, and the sales of the works are given equal balance as they approach this profession. I’ve described the living artists in our contemporary collection of glass whose professionalism is apparent when you stroll through our Museum.
Area of Investigation: Form and Space
No. 3: As students tour our glass art exhibits, it’s important they know how to appreciate the sculpture they are looking at and why it either moves them or does not. We discuss everything from the composition, orientation, proportion, scale, and subject articulation that balances with the intent of the artist. It is wonderful to see the students really leaning in and thinking about what it is they are experiencing. It is a joyful experience to train our eyes to really appreciate form, space, color, and dimension as we take in the world around us.
Area of Investigation: The STEM in STEAM
And finally, we describe how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) become part of the creative process for artists working with glass. They need to understand heat and the elements, including silica (sand), that melt to become glass when it cools and hardens. They need to understand technology as it relates to the equipment and programming they use for design. Mass has weight. The artists need to understand engineering and how to build and balance the sculptures they create. They also must know math. Engaging color elements, moderating the heat, how the chemicals react to the heat, and how fast it cools all must be taken into consideration when completing a piece of glass sculpture.
An Invitation to Experience the Beauty & Magic of Glass Art
These areas and more are discussed and reviewed in different ways, depending on the size and age of the group. When you book a tour, our staff take the time to understand the audience to make for the perfect tour experience.
We invite all of our guests, no matter the age or level of education, to experience the artwork and be inspired by the creativity they see. We hope all are uplifted by the beauty they absorb and fascinated by this fairly recent movement in the annuals of art history and how it came into being.
For those who are interested in scheduling a group tour, fill out our form at the bottom of our Tours Page, or call us at 727-300-1700, ext. 119. You’ll be happy you did!
Jane Buckman, President