When you’re beating out international cities for major contemporary art conferences, you’re doing something right.
A European capital was the other finalist to host the prestigious Glass Art Society conference in 2017. Norfolk was chosen on the strength of its 10,000-piece glass art collection at the Chrysler Museum, the groundbreaking glass education and performance machine that is the Chrysler Glass Studio, the soon-to-come Glass Wheel Studio, and the excitement promised by hosting the conference in our ever-growing NEON District.
“This is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for to put Norfolk on the map internationally as a stronghold and touchstone of the glass world,” said Charlotte Potter, Manager and Programming Director of the Chrysler Museum’s Glass Studio, who is spearheading the planning and community partnerships for the 2017 conference. “If you look back historically Jamestown was the first place glass was ever invented in America; in fact glass was America’s first export! It turns out this region has been championing this material for a very long time, so we’re so thrilled to finally capitalize on this long history and innovative future that Norfolk holds for glass.”
“This opportunity is fun for number reasons, first for the thousand or more people who attend the Glass Art Society conference are colorful, to say it lightly,” said Potter. “They are a lively bunch of wild, passionate, intriguing and thirsty individuals. You can expect to meet both sculptural and conceptual glass superstars, students and people who are strongly invested in the functional side of this magical medium.”
The road here started with Walter Chrysler’s love of glass and the collection he built. Chrysler personally knew Louis Comfort Tiffany (yes, that Tiffany), and his collection of glass art soon enough grew to over 8,000 individual pieces. The Museum’s glass wing has long been one of the more extensive in the world; particularly since the renovation of the building, the collection truly shines. (Walk into the Museum; take 15 steps, take a right.) From historic cameos to Tiffany to contemporary political art that uses glass as a medium, the collection is truly an inspiration to anyone with the capacity to be touched by beauty.
“This prestigious conference is a natural fit with what we have to offer at The Chrysler Museum of Art and our Perry Glass Studio,” said Chrysler Museum Director Erik Neil. “It will certainly add to the growing acclaim for our glass program across the nation.”
“We hope this conference will differ from others a bit in that it is dedicated to performance glass (because that’s what we’re so well known for for our third Thursday series both locally and internationally) and speaking about this medium in the context of the contemporary art world,” said Potter. “We are the perfect place to do that because we have an incredible comprehensive collection of art with strong holdings in American, European, Glass and contemporary Art.”
Even if you’re not an art lover, this is a big deal, folks. Having over 1,000 glass artists roaming around the NEON sounds like a party worth attending.
“I brought the director and president to The Parlor and sat there having a drink after a long day of touring,” Potter said. “The bartender made something exquisite, Virginia Symphony Orchestra had a string quartet playing lightly in the corner. The classic Parlor twinkly lights were doing their magic. They looked me square in the eye and told me ‘you guys got this.’ The reason for that is they saw all of the potential in this budding Arts District and knew that in two years time it would be a serious place for contemporary art, a destination worthy of the Glass Art Society conference.”
Roll out the Tiffany welcome mat, Norfolk. The Glass Art Society conference is on the way.