Every November The Studio is visited by an energetic and lively group of lifelong learners participating in a national program called Road Scholars. Started in 1975, the Road Scholars program offers 5,500 programs in all fifty states and 150 countries. Road Scholars come to The Studio four times a year for a program called Hands-on Glassmaking at The Corning Museum of Glass. Our scholars participate in four days of lessons at The Studio. They come from a wide range of locations from across the entire United States.
At The Studio, Road Scholars attend classes in three of our studio spaces: the hot shop, flame shop and kiln studio. The three studios offer different projects for participants and there is something for everyone. In the hotshop, students started with the very basics of gathering and manipulating hot glass. After that, they moved into making flowers, paperweights and finally vases or pumpkins. In the flame shop, participants utilized colorful glass rods to create a variety of different types of beads, pendants and sometimes even small sculptures. In the kiln room, students learned how to cut and fuse sheet glass, slump wine bottles and create personalized designs for sandblasted decoration.
All areas of glassworking provide programs that cover the basics yet still provide a challenge for participants who may have had some previous experience. One of the nicest things about Road Scholars is the energy and excitement they bring to The Studio. For four days, 24 students are enthused about working with glass and trying a variety of techniques.
In addition to their time at The Studio, Road Scholars also get multiple opportunities to experience the Museum. They have tours of the Museum’s collection and eat lunch at the GlassMarket Café. Evening activities include homemade ice cream and watching video marathons of notable glassworkers. A special wine tasting event at Bottles and Corks on Market Street is another Road Scholar favorite activity.
The group experiences the Museum and enjoys the surrounding environment of Corning. Their hands-on experience with glass lends a new level of appreciation to the material and for the Museum’s incredible collection. One of my favorite things we do is on the very last day. After all of the classes are done and everyone has packed up their things we do a final raffle where Studio staff raffle demonstration objects made by instructing artists during the week. It’s always exciting to see what objects get picked first and to watch the enthusiasm of the students when they win.
For more information, visit www.roadscholar.org.