Deadline: May 31

The Ron Desmett Memorial Award for Imagination with Glass is for artists who think outside of the box, practice curiosity, and take risks to create unique, imaginative works in glass or incorporating glass. 

Ron Desmett was an artist eschewing conventions whereby he fostered idea over technique and posed the question:

Is this work truly ‘me’?

He invented his path to an autobiography with glass.  

In order to foster these characteristics in the next generations of glass artists, a minimum of $5,000 will be awarded annually to an artist (or scholar) in one of four categories:

  • YOUTH: A student of high school age whose work embodies Ron’s spirit and shows rare talent. An awardee in this category will receive a $2,500 cash award upon high school graduation to be used for further education and a year of free classes and private instruction at PGC.
  • GLASS ARTIST: An artist whose main discipline is glass, whose work embodies Ron’s spirit in a creative nature and who shows great promise. An awardee in this category will receive a $2,500 cash award and time in PGC’s studios to create a new body of work.
  • IDEA FURNACE: An artist whose main medium of choice is not glass, but over their creative lifetime has embodied the experiential and experimental qualities that Ron valued. An awardee in this category will receive a $2,500 cash award and time in the PGC studios with the help of an experienced glass artist to create his or her vision in glass.
  • CRITICAL WRITING: A writer who would use this award to focus on glass, with emphasis on craft media as sculpture exploring new thoughts as glass art matures. Critical thinking best exemplifies Ron’s vision for communicating through art. Writers must have demonstrated manuscripts and be willing to work on questions posed by the committee in an effort to break new ground with this medium and with critical writing. An awardee in this category will receive $2500 cash award and a residency in Pittsburgh. The awardee would be expected to visit PGC and spend time exploring the medium through the lens of critical thinking. Additionally, the awardee would write an essay for publication on an exhibition at PGC and present a lecture on their topic at PGC. 


PGC will offer at least one award per year. All awards will consist of a cash portion in the amount of $2,500 and an experiential portion consisting of classes, studio access, etc. valued at $2,500, for a total award value of $5,000. All awardees must come to PGC to participate as part of the award. Awardees must offer one lecture, demonstration or piece of critical writing for PGC as part of their award. 

PGC co-founder and wife of Ron Desmett, Kathleen Mulcahy and a committee of other artists, curators and community leaders will select awardees. 

APPLY ONLINE with the following information:

  • Artist statement
  • Description of project or why you should be selected for the award
  • Three references
  • Up to 10 images, videos, or writing samples


  • Application Deadline: May 31
  • Notification of Award: July 1
  • Residency and activities can occur anytime between September 15 and August 15

Email us if you have any questions.

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