Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access at PGC

Embracing a Culture of Diversity

Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC) is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, access, equity, and inclusion.

PGC benefits from a multiplicity of viewpoints that varied experiences can bring. We embrace and encourage our constituents’ differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make them unique.

The collective sum of the individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities and talent that our employees, board members, instructors, students, and audiences invest in our work represents a significant part of not only our culture, but our reputation and achievement as well.

  • Goal 1: Make Pittsburgh Glass Center and its services accessible and affordable to every household and organization in Pittsburgh
  • Goal 2: Strengthen the organization by the inclusion of individuals that reflect the varied cultures of our community in staffing, board members, teaching artists, and vendors.
  • Goal 3: Meet people where they are.
  • Goal 4: Reach and engage with more artists of color and continue to make the glass art landscape more racially diverse.


Read our full DEIA plan (pdf).


My name is Courtney Clemm. I am the Outreach & Accessibility Coordinator at Pittsburgh Glass Center. Since our inception in 2001, PGC has been located on the edge of Garfield, a historically Black community. Since 2016 we have offered full scholarships for people of color and had the honor to have awarded over 100.

Despite these facts, the demographics of our students and attendees remain predominantly white. That shows us that while we try, we are not doing enough to diversify, and we challenge ourselves to change that. 

If there are any ways that we can make our environment more inclusive and accessible, I urge you to contact me at courtney@pittsburghglasscenter.org.

We want to listen and evolve for the betterment of our communities. 

Courtney Clemm photo

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Flameworking Student at Pittsburgh Glass Center


Our studios are open to everyone who wants to learn and create. We offer a variety of scholarships in an effort to make our classes accessible to as many people as possible. Full-tuition scholarships are available for all classes and workshops for students of color.

Contact Courtney if you have questions at 412-365-2145 ext. 210.


Garfield neighborhood youth at Pittsburgh Glass Center


We offer grants to Garfield residents for classes and artist residencies.  If you are a Garfield resident and want to work with glass, contact us.


Community programs at Pittsburgh Glass Center


We welcome groups of all ages and abilities to our studios to watch hot glass demonstrations and participate in hands-on activities. Watch artists create amazing glass art, explore our contemporary glass art gallery and try glass making. If you can't come to us, we can bring hands-on activities and glassblowing demonstrations to you free of cost.


Glass artist Percy Echols II


Pittsburgh Glass Center offers several residency tracks that provide direct to support to artists including stipends, travel expenses, and accommodations that allow artists time to hone their skills, create new work, or develop pieces for an exhibition at PGC or elsewhere.


Vanessa German residency


We seek to work with non-glass artists to realize their ideas. Call it a collaboration—one that leads to amazing creative alliances and truly inspired works. Frequently, PGC invites non-glass artists into the studio to discuss their design ideas, learn about the glassmaking process, and watch their design come to life. Our exchange regularly leads to mutual learning opportunities.

Idea Furnace is free, and design sessions are typically a 3-hour studio session with a glass artist.


Crafting the Future logo

Crafting the Future

Pittsburgh Glass Center has partnered with Crafting the Future, a new organization working to diversify the fields of art, craft and design by connecting BIPOC artists with opportunities that will help them thrive. Listen to an interview with Corey Pemberton, Director, on the Talking Out Your Glass podcast. 


At PGC, we welcome and nurture everyone.

blm-suncatcher-web.jpgPittsburgh Glass Center stands with the Black community in demanding justice and change. We will continue to amplify the voices and ideas that will lead us to a more equitable society. 

I will never know what it feels like to be judged by the color of my skin, but I know to stay silent now is to be complicit.  George Floyd lost his life in a senseless act of violence by someone who swore to protect the community. This is not the first time this has happened. It is not even the first time it has happened in the last few months. Art absolutely has the power to provoke conversation and we will continue to work to be a place that shares the voices of artists of color with the Pittsburgh community and beyond. 

We know we have more work to do at PGC to make our programs equitable and accessible to all. We are creating a page on our website with resources on anti-racism actions, Black led organizations to donate to, and information about PGC’s free public programming. We have distributed over 100 full tuition scholarships to our classes for people of color since 2016 and vow to continue to increase our outreach to make more people aware of these opportunities.

We are proud to have worked with many amazing Black artists over the last several years through our Idea Furnace artist residency program. We very intentionally reach out to artists of color through this program because we know the art world in general, and the glass world in specific is far too homogeneous.

The commitment to elevating voices of color comes from the highest levels of leadership at PGC including our board. “The board and leadership of Pittsburgh Glass Center stands in solidarity with and holds space for our grieving and enraged Black community.  As an organization, we unequivocally believe in racial equity and justice. We are committed to amplifying and learning from the critical voices of Black, Indigenous and other artists of color”. —Alison Oehler, PGC Board President

We will continue to listen to Black leaders, ask questions, and educate ourselves and we hope you will do the same.

—Heather McElwee,
Randi & L. Van V. Dauler, Jr. Executive Director