The 500-seat Amphitheater Hot Shop will be the most capable space for glassmaking demonstrations anywhere in the world. The possibilities seem endless for sharing the excitement of hot glass with our visitors through special demos, themed shows, guest glass artists and live design sessions with artists.
“Up to this point, we’ve had shops that have been focused on making a good demonstration,” said Eric Meek, manager of hot glass programs, “but this shop is focused on making great work. It’s a huge difference. This shop is capable of supporting the talent of our team, as well as the vision of great artists. There’s hardly anything you can imagine in glass that can’t be made in there.”
Meek is planning to take full advantage of that through the programming he’s putting together for the new space.
“Because of the size of the shop, everything will be scaled up a bit,” said Meek. “We can offer our visitors who have a deeper interest level in glass the chance to see something special. Perhaps they’ve already seen a Hot Glass Demo on the Innovation Stage. They can come to the Amphitheater Hot Shop and see expanded shows with new techniques that only a bigger hot shop and more time will allow.”
Meek is working on the first of the thematic glass demos to go along with the Museum’s summer exhibition Ennion and His Legacy: Mold-Blown Glass from Ancient Rome, opening in May. The demo will highlight some of the glassmaking techniques used to create the objects on display in the exhibition. Other programming in the space will include blocks of time to work on intricate projects, like pulling canes that can take all morning.
But perhaps what is most exciting for Meek is the ability to invite glass artists and designers into the Amphitheater Hot Shop to work on pieces that could never be realized in a small shop—and to share it all with the public.
“This creates new opportunities for artists to engage with The Corning Museum of Glass,” said Meek, “and for the community to be able to watch an amazing level of talent come to our town.”
The Guest Artist Program will welcome accomplished glassblowers, providing them with a talented team of Museum glassblowers who will only broaden the glassblowers’ capabilities. But the Museum will also invite fine artists and designers, who may or may not already work in glass. They will bring with them a vision, and the Museum’s glassmakers will make it come to life. Many of these will be large-scale, and performance-based works.
“We’ve built the ultimate shop,” said Meek. “The potential of that space and the life it will take on is something I can’t even imagine. I have no idea what we’ll be doing in there in five years, but I know it’s going to be fantastic, and beyond what anyone here has dreamed of, because this space is special.”