by Susan B. Apel
Imaginative children and top-flight regional glass artists are an unexpected and inspired combination. The exhibition Glasstastic has returned to the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. Kids in grades K through 6 were asked to dream up, draw, and describe their invented creatures. The museum received over 1200 submissions.
Twenty glass artists pored over the kids’ drawings, each artist choosing one to transform into a glass sculpture. Techniques varied; some are hand-blown, others were made from cut cold glass fused together in kilns. Individual works are for sale.
The exhibition pairs the original drawing with the artist-interpreted final work. Each piece is named by the child, and has a child-crafted bio. The featured image, above, is entitled “Jeff,” drawing by Leo Elder, Grade 6, glass sculpture by Josh Bernbaum. Of Jeff, Leo wrote “He is very kind and compassionate. He would make a good pet. He loves cupcakes and is always happy. His best friend is YOU!!! Very cute and loveable. He is also very cuddly.”
One of Jeff’s neighbors in the exhibition is the flying Miss Piggy, with drawing by Sawyer Bailey, Grade 6, sculpture by Bob Burch (below)
Curator Linda Whelihan has said that Glasstastic will return again in two years for its 5th iteration, and is open to all children in grades K through 6. Many of this year’s submissions came through students working with area art teachers. If you have a young artist at home, you might want to take him or her to the exhibition now and check back with BMAC about future submissions. Might more Upper Valley teachers consider including this project in their curricula?
There is an entire gallery full of the whimsical creatures. Here’s a list of the young artists in the exhibition: Deegan Wilkinson, Lily-Ann Nolet, Chase Sullivan, Lawton Duch, Sawyer Bailey, Maya Rottenberg, Abbie Jarvis, Ava Scott, Blake Truchon, Bram Salus, Leo Elder, Malena Hodgman, Destiny Dorsey, Esabella Amoah, Tailae Rianne Lynn, Colin Chicoine, Katelyn Croteau, Justin Draper, Brian Quinn, Anna Chechile, and Graham Long.
Glass artists include Josh Bernbaum, Marta Bernbaum, Jocelyn Brown, Bob Burch, Dominique Caissie, Genevieve Cole, Matthew Donaldson, Robert DuGrenier, Jordana Korsen, Lynn Latimer, Alissa Faber, Claire Kelly, David Colton, Dan Coyle, Wesley Fleming, Kale Stewart, Randi Solin, Bryan Randa, Jen Violette, and Andrew Weill.
Brattleboro Museum and Art Center is located at 10 Vernon Street, Brattleboro VT. For further information about this and other stellar exhibitions currently on view, go to the BMAC website. Glasstastic is open through June 16, 2019.
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Susan B. Apel is a writer and retired law professor whose creative nonfiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of literary journals such as Vine Leaves, Best of Vine Leaves 2015, the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Literary Mama, and Persimmon Tree. Her blog, ArtfulEdge, appears regularly on the DailyUV. She has published reviews in Art New England, Vermont Art Guide, and Boston’s The Arts Fuse. She is an Art Correspondent for The Woven Tale Press and a columnist for the newspaper, Vermont Woman. She lives in Lebanon, NH.