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A touch of glass 

Arts Center to host ‘Hot Color Cool Glass’

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In contrast to the hoopla — and hoops — this spring arts issue highlights are the visual arts and the quiet contemplation they afford.

Just in time for reflection in air-conditioned comfort comes the Arts Center's “Hot Color Cool Glass” May 9 through July 27. One of the hottest tickets at the Arts Center this year, the three-piece exhibit highlights the work of Seattle glass artist Sonja Blomdahl and, in accompanying shows, work from 100 years ago to the present. Blomdahl, whose show is organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, is one of the few women working in the glass field. She broke away from the Pilchuck School, founded by Dale Chihuly, to focus on symmetrical, double-blown vessel forms.

Chihuly's 2001 exhibit at the Arts Center was a huge success and patrons have asked when his work would return, curator Anne Gochenour said. Now is the time. His work will be featured in “The Glass Century,” work assembled by Gochenour from museums, private collections and the Arts Center's own holdings to track the evolution of the craft from the decorative to fine art. Pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany and studio glass movement founder Harvey Littleton will also be included. Gochenour also curated “Beyond Blown Glass,” which focuses on contemporary artists working with cast, slumped, fused and constructed forms, including Karen LaMont and Mitch Gaudet.

Demonstrations and lectures will accompany the exhibits: Artists from the Hot Shop of the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wash., will blow glass in the Arts Center courtyard the first week of the exhibit. Jutta Page, glass curator at the Toledo Museum of Art, will lead a panel discussion with gallery owners, glass artists and collectors on May 14 (“Why I Should Care About Glass If I'm Serious About Art”) and will give a talk on the history of studio art May 15. Blomdahl will be the speaker in the Friends of Contemporary Crafts “Conversation” series May 18 and at the Fine Arts Club meeting May 19.

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