PGC's Top 10 for 2021
Blown Away by 1,000% Website Increase
Heather McElwee appeared as a guest judge on the second season of the hit Netflix competition series Blown Away, which premiered on January 22. Web traffic increased by over 1,000% with fans of the show looking to learn more about glassblowing and take a class.
PGC's Best Fall Ever
We earned $158,000 from our fall classes and workshops, which is a 25% increase over our best fall ever in 2019 which was $126,800. Returning to in-person activities this year felt like a top 10 moment on its own after 2020.
Carnegie Museum of Art Collaboration
We collaborated on not one but two major exhibitions that opened at the Carnegie Museum of Art in October. Sharif Bey: Excavations includes numerous artworks in glass created at PGC. Sara Greenberger Rafferty's exhibition showcases pieces that were made at PGC using a unique kiln-firing process with images printed with powdered glass. A workshop at PGC allowed students to learn more about the process.
Google Arts and Culture Launched
PGC was one of only 15 Pittsburgh institutions to be featured online on the Google Arts & Culture platform and app at g.co/explorepittsburgh. For the first time, everyone anywhere can engage with Pittsburgh Glass Center, experience our exhibitions, and learn more about our artists and community.
First Neon Exhibition
We presented our first neon and plasma exhibition called Light in Transmission from February 5–July 18. It featured a diverse range of light art within the shared medium of both neon and plasma sculpture. Light in Transmission was curated by Percy Echols II, an artist, creator of the podcast Taming Lightning and PGC’s first recipient of the Ron Desmett Memorial Award for Imagination with Glass. The show featured the work of 14 neon and plasma artists.
Vitro Architectural Glass was the premiere sponsor of our annual Art on Fire Celebration and Auction in September. As Vitro is a company dedicated to glass innovation, we are excited to grow our partnership with them and see many opportunities for synergy and collaboration.
We presented a webinar in collaboration with Fallingwater in August that attracted over 100 participants. The webinar introduced viewers to glass objects in the Fallingwater collection and also featured a live glassblowing demonstration where Jason Forck created a platter in the style of one of the Kauffman family’s dinner plates. One person said, “Best webinar of the COVID era!”
Little Free Library Open
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we opened the door to our Little Free Library with help from Pittsburgh East Rotary Club. Some have described the colorful, glass mosaic library as the most beautiful one in Pittsburgh. We see people young and old visiting on a daily basis sharing their love of reading.
New Faces at PGC
We have many bright new faces at PGC. Despite COVID-19, demand for classes and our Glass-to-Go art kits remained strong enough that we needed to add additional people to the staff and some new positions were filled such as a database coordinator as recommended in our strategic plan. Stop by and meet everyone!
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Collaboration
In our first collaboration with Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, we presented Second Nature, inspired by and celebrating the beauty, wonderment and power in the natural world through the medium of glass. Twelve local artists are featured in this exhibit which will be on display in the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Welcome Center from November 11 to March 6, 2022.