Tacoma, Wash. – Opening September 13, Museum of Glass and Hilltop Artists present Hilltop Artists 20th Anniversary, an exhibition highlighting the impact of glass art on the lives of youth, the Hilltop neighborhood, and beyond. The exhibition will consist of glass objects, images, and videos, telling a story that spans the past 20 years of Hilltop Artists and the community it serves.
Founded with the support of artist Dale Chihuly and the leadership of the Tacoma School District, gallery owner Kathy Kaperick envisioned Hilltop Artists as a place where young people from the Hilltop neighborhood could learn from established artists as a creative and constructive outlet. Gang-related crime and violence had made the Hilltop neighborhood notorious across the nation in the 1990s, but Kaperick believed art had the power to change the lives of at-risk youth and help keep them in school.
Hilltop Artists started as a small summer program in a former woodshop at Jason Lee Middle School in 1994. With only limited equipment available, the students explored a variety of media and their first experience with glass involved heating up Snapple™ bottles and manipulating them into new shapes.
“Some of the students work was more heroic and daring than my own,” said Therman Statom, one of the early artists in residence and an internationally exhibited artist. “It convinced me that art is a tool of well-being and reinforced my own interest in art as a tool for healing.”
Twenty years later, Hilltop Artists annually serves over 500 students, ages 12 to 20, who engage in multiple forms of hot glass instruction, creating everything from large-scale public installations composed of blown glass to intricate flame-worked sculptures and beads.
“Our students make incredible work,” says Hilltop Artists Executive Director Kit Evans. “Alternative arts education creates a way for them to be empowered and to actively participate in the community.”Hilltop Artists 20th Anniversary is outlined by thematic pairs – Community and Creativity; Optimism and Resilience; Transformation and Collaboration – themes that not only demonstrate the growth that has made the organization what it is today, but also reflect the skills that Hilltop Artists instills in its students. These qualities are essential for social and academic success, helping Hilltop Artists to fulfill its mission of “using glass arts to connect youth from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds to better futures.”
Hilltop Artists has emerged as a leader in its field, inspiring organizations as far away as Germany to model their programs after Hilltop Artists’ award–winning work.
Current Hilltop Artists students will be giving tours of the exhibition on Third Thursdays, 5:30 p.m.; and September 13, 27, and October 11 and 25 starting at 1 p.m. with the possibility of dates being added.
Watch Hilltop Artists in the Hot Shop every third Thursday from 5-8 p.m. at Museum of Glass.
MOG Members Opening
Sunday, Sept. 14
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Free for MOG members
RSVP to Membership at 253.284.2125
Hilltop Artists 20th Anniversary is supported by KBCS 91.3 FM
Museum of Glass is sponsored in part by The Ben B. Cheney Foundation, City of Tacoma Arts Commission, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, The Dimmer Family Foundation and ArtsFund.
Info Line 253-284-4750/ 1-866-4MUSEUM
Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock Street Tacoma, WA 98402