Plan a Visit
“I think what makes the [Pittsburgh] Glass Center a special place is the openness of the community. When people come to the glass center, I want them to see both a world-class facility where professional glass artists are at work and also a very accessible space where anyone feels welcome when they come in the door.”
—Jason Forck, Education & Creative Projects Manager and professional glass artist
Not so Hot, but Definitely Still Cool
What’s Happening at Pittsburgh Glass Center August 15 – September 11
The month of August is obviously hot and at Pittsburgh Glass Center it can be even hotter with temperatures in the glassblowing studio reaching over 120 degrees! At that temperature, it is nearly unbearable and unsafe to be blowing glass and making art.
That makes this time of year the best time to cool off, turn off the furnace, and make repairs.
The furnace is like a pizza oven. It is built of refractory brick that insulates the chamber and holds the heat in to melt our glass and keep it gooey and hot like magma. We have two furnaces that run nonstop every day at a temperature of about 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, the same temperature as lava!
Molten glass is highly corrosive and over time erodes the brick. If left unchecked, the molten material can break down the furnace, rupture, and leak out onto the other equipment and floor like lava from an erupting volcano, not the terrifying explosions but more like a slow bubbling flow that burns everything in its path. This is not good for obvious reasons and very expensive.
August 15 – September 11 is maintenance time at PGC. We turn off the gas and cool off the equipment. We crawl in the furnace (when it is cold) to get a good look up close and repair any cracks and clean the chamber along with all of the other equipment in all four of our studios. As we say in Pittsburgh, “We’re redding up!” or tidying up for the next session of classes that begins in September. We are still open to visitors, but the studios are mostly closed because they are in disarray as we rearrange and repair everything.
If you plan to visit during this time, only our gallery and retail shop will be consistently open.
Stop in to check out an eye-opening display of multimedia artwork made in our studios by local and internationally renowned artists such as Blown Away stars John Sharvin and Elliot Walker. It's the perfect opportunity to learn about the various glass techniques and talented artists that are making functional glassware, using fiber, paper, metal, GLASS and more. Plus, you can even bid on the artworks in the Art on Fire Auction and support these artists and Pittsburgh Glass Center!
We apologize for the inconvenience. We’re not giving you the cold shoulder, just taking time to refresh and re-energize for your next visit. If you have any questions, call us any time at 412-365-2145 or email us.
CLOSED SUNDAY SEPT. 4
AUGUST 15 – SEPTEMBER 12
FALL HOURS BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 18
Parking is available in our adjacent lot. Additional on-street parking is also available. A wheelchair-accessible spot is located near the building’s Penn Avenue entry ramp, which allows for easy wheelchair access to the first-floor gallery space and studios.
While PGC is public access and admission is free, there is a $5 suggested donation. We rely on individual contributions to augment the revenue generated by our classes and workshops in order to keep our doors open, our fires hot, and to continue our mission of education and community outreach. There are two donation boxes located on the first floor of our Penn Avenue building. We genuinely appreciate support in whatever amount you are able to give!
HOW TO GET THERE
5472 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 (map)
Pittsburgh Glass Center is centered between the East End neighborhoods of Friendship and Garfield, about 3.5 miles east of the Strip District, near the corner of Penn and Negley Avenues.
Accessible via the Pittsburgh Port Authority buses 71A, 71C, 77, 87, and 88.
PGC is committed to providing an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone. A handicap parking spot is located near the building’s Penn Avenue entry ramp, which allows for easy wheelchair access to the first-floor gallery space and studios. An elevator with wide entry doors is available to transport visitors to all second-floor studios, and fully accessible bathrooms are located on both the first and second floors of the building.
During all First Friday Hot Jam events, an American Sign Language interpreter is on site to explain hot glass demonstrations. If a special accommodation can help you or anyone in your group fully participate in our programs, please email Kate Duncan or call 412-365-2145 x214.