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GLASSTASTIC returns to Brattleboro Museum & Art Center

Surely you’ve heard the term “froggy,” but have you heard of “Oggy”? Can you imagine a creature named “Squish” or “Snuggs”? How about a glue creature, a henna, or an “I AM THE EGGMAN?”
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Surely you’ve heard the term “froggy,” but have you heard of “Oggy”? Can you imagine a creature named “Squish” or “Snuggs”? How about a glue creature, a henna, or an “I AM THE EGGMAN?”

These wonderful, whimsical creatures—and more—take center stage in the 2023 edition of GLASSTASTIC, a popular biennial exhibition at Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) that features collaborations between K–6 students and professional glass artists. From June 24 through October 9, a total of 11 magnificent glass sculptures are on display alongside the imaginative drawings and descriptions that inspired them. This year, the glass creatures live in an immersive habitat designed by local artist Cynthia Parker-Houghton. The resulting exhibition reflects and celebrates the creativity of the children and the ingenuity of the artists who faithfully rendered each creature’s features in glass.

“Bringing the GLASSTASTIC menagerie to life requires the glass artists to experiment with processes, materials, and a variety of glass-working techniques,” wrote GLASSTASTIC co-curators Kirsten Martsi and Sarah Freeman, “In some cases, molten glass was gathered on the end of a hollow pipe, rolled, stretched, and given form with the artist’s breath. For flame-worked sculptures, brightly colored rods of glass were heated with a torch and manipulated to create intricate details.”

“Creating Catacorn touched me deeply,” glass artist Randi Solin said. “Creating a new color was a really fun process, and the creature felt like it had its own personality, like I was birthing a new being. I carried it around the studio for a week, and it always brightened my mood. The kids’ imaginative spirit is so heartwarming; I really love helping bring their drawings to life.”

“Having the honor of working with the kids’ ideas really stretches us as artists,” Marta Bernbaum added. “We get to use techniques or processes that we don’t practice daily, or maybe even ever, in our own bodies of work. That’s really exciting!”

The young artists whose designs were selected this year are Phoebe Benik, Elliot Esposito, Jorja Hill, Quinn Hobbie, Taelyn Jennings, Cori Kelly, Sylvan Koicuba, Leo Neeper, Willow Ngoma, Esme Sagarena-Harlan, and Isolde Tierney. Every one of the approximately 500 other drawings submitted for consideration is also available for viewing both at the museum and on our website. The glass artists are Josh Bernbaum, Marta Bernbaum, Jocelyn Brown, Bob Burch, Allie Dercoli, Robert DuGrenier, Zak Grace, Jordana Korsen, Sally Prasch, Randi Solin, and Jen Violette.

At the close of the exhibit, students will be able to take home their drawings and the glass sculptures they inspired.

Glasstastic 2023 is supported in part by gifts from Elizabeth Catlin and Jared Flynn, Janet Hertzberg, Martha LoMonaco and Karl Ruling, Mel Martin and Pat Howell, Leo Schiff and Joy Hammond, and Carolyn Thall and Aidan Finnan.

Founded in 1972, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. BMAC is open Wednesday–Sunday, 10–4. Admission is free. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.

BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Beer Co.

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