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April 26, 2007

UW teaming with the biggest name in glass art — Chihuly

News and Information

The UW is joining with the biggest name in glass art for a new endowed faculty position.

Artist Dale Chihuly, whose wildly imaginative and colorful creations have virtually come to define modern glass art, joined UW President Mark Emmert last week to announce the School of Art’s new Dale Chihuly Endowed Chair in Glass.

Jamie Walker, professor of ceramics, said the position will be “part of a new collaboration between ceramics, sculpture, public art and glass, a combination that will be unique to the UW.”

Walker said an international search will begin immediately for a faculty member to fill the endowed position, which will begin with the 2008-09 school year. “This effort,” he said, “will benefit from the preeminent role that the Northwest has had in the contemporary glass movement.”

The endowed chair was funded by about $2 million in private gifts from individuals and organizations, including members of the Pilchuck Glass School’s board of trustees.

Christopher Ozubko, director of the School of Art, said the idea of teaching glass art at the UW has been discussed for many years. He said he remembered a meeting with Chihuly and former UW President Richard McCormick on the matter in the late 1990s.

The new thrust in glass art education will “probably not be a program, but there will be experiences in glass art by a faculty member who is an outstanding sculptor as well as a glass artist.” The thought, he said, is to introduce “a three-D consortium,” or “a redefinition of curriculum” where classes in glass are either taught by the new faculty member or team-taught by faculty in sculpture, public art and ceramics.

The job advertisement for the position states, “The successful candidate must be able to develop a highly innovative, mixed media or cross-disciplinary program in sculptural glass and develop contacts and working relationships with the area’s well-established glass community, as the UW is not anticipating building a traditional hot shop.

“Our goal is to develop a unique, dynamic and interdisciplinary program that serves to incubate a new generation of artists who can make significant contributions not only to their specific fields, but to society as a whole.”

Walker said the revised studio art program will likely partner with the Pratt Fine Arts Center, the Tacoma Museum of Glass and the Pilchuck Glass School.