By CASEY DEY
University students from around Tacoma gathered at the Museum of Glass on Nov. 22 to enjoy “University Night,” a free event for college students to get a taste of life as a glass artist and experience what the Museum of Glass has to offer.
“Gather. Noun: the process of collecting molten glass from the furnace on a pipe. Verb: to come together.” The pamphlets advertising the event enticed students with free food, music, a bar, free admission to the galleries and the opportunity to make glass magnets or pendants or even blow glass into orbs!
While some of the students were at the museum for the first time, others were there for their fourth. Everyone seemed to be having a great time however, laughing with friends, dancing to the music, exploring the galleries, and working with glass in a unique hands-on experience.
Students entered the museum lobby to the sound of a DJ shuffling upbeat pop songs, giving the feel of a party. After attaching wristbands announcing the age of the guest, students could enter the lobby and were free to dance to the music, grab a bowl of loaded nachos and a soda, beer or a glass of wine, explore the gallery or watch and cheer on their friends at a live glassblowing demonstration.
There was also a table where students could complete a survey and enter to win a spot in the last glassblowing workshop that evening, as well as information for anyone interested in an internship at the museum. Museum employees, artists and current student interns sat at the tables, ready to answer any questions students might have about the available programs or even just the museum itself.
Those who had made reservations early could either fuse or blow glass at a designated time. Those who fused glass could assemble a design onto a diamond or square-shaped glass fragment that museum artists would later make into a pendant or magnet. Those who blew glass would aid the artists on the hotshop floor as they heated the glass, rolling it in crushed glass to make it marbled or swirled and give colorful designs, then would themselves get to blow into the tube to create a ball of hot glass. The artist would then break off the orb and seal it before placing it into storage to cool. Everyone who participated will get to collect his creations at a later date.
Museum coordinator and University Night director Melanie Aamidor was excited by the large turnout. This was only the second year, but already hundreds of students had arrived to enjoy the festivities.
She said the purpose of the University Night was to not only give students a free hands-on experience with glass, but also to encourage the students to come back and take part in what the museum has to offer.
“[W]e wanted to see more of the college, student, university age come to the museum. We actually have ‘Student Free Sundays’ so they can come in, see the galleries, watch them in the hotshops, watch the professionals. And so we wanted to promote that as well, because we weren’t seeing too many students coming in. We just wanted to see more students here! We have exhibitions that change periodically, so it’s nice to come back and see what’s going on. Exhibitions come from all around the world so they’re very unique and very different from one another,” she said.
She also encouraged students to like the museum’s Facebook page so they could keep updated on the museum’s events.
University Night at the Museum of Glass was just one opportunity for students to get their hands on glassblowing, but there are many opportunities throughout the year for anyone with any sort of interest in this unique form of art.