The executive directors of Hilltop Artists in Residence in Tacoma, Washington, and GlassRoots in Newark, New Jersey, joined representatives of programs in Chicago and Corning, New York, on stage at the 2015 Glass Art Society conference to discuss best practices. To make the most of the limited time, and unique opportunity to bring together leaders from this field, the panel divided up into breakout sessions, reconvening at the close of the panel discussion to share what transpired in each group.
The panelists and topics discussed were:
Pearl Dick, the director of the GlassWorks program in Chicago, spoke about ways that glass art can be used as therapy for dealing with the trauma of gun violence with an in-depth discussion of a pilot program she is working on with the University of Chicago and Comer Children's Hospital.
Hilltop Artists in Residence executive director Kit Evans (with instructor Tony Sorgenfrei) discussed how Hilltop has been working with the juvenile justice system for seven years, as well as future plans to work with the Tacoma court system.
GlassRoots executive director Barbara Heisler shared why GlassRoots has launched a scientific glassblowing apprentice program, how it was set up, and early indications of results.
Tracy Kirchmann, who heads up a Chicago nonprofit called STEAM Works explored ideas for what opportunities there are for graduates of at-risk glass programs at the high-school level.
Minkoff Foundation managing trustee Robert Minkoff offered a case study of developing relationships with funders. He provided a history of how the Minkoff Foundation connected with the glass program at Salem County Community College, where it now funds multiple full-scholarships for students.
Jessica Moore, special projects coordinator at the Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass talked about the skills we look to foster in an at-risk program, and how they are emphasized at the programming at the Corning Studio. She also spoke about the Expanding Horizons initiative at Corning that debuts in Julhy 2015 and offers the most promising students of glass programs a week-long intensive experience that includes information about college glass programs.