CIA Highlights 50 Years of Glass in Risk + Discovery

Brent Kee Young, Matrix Series: Deep Boat…Light, A geometric study/boat form, flame-constructed borosilicate glass, 2006

The Cleveland Institute of Art enjoys a long and rich history with glass. One of its most high-profile alums is Clara Driscoll, best known for the stained-glass lamps she designed for the Tiffany Glass Company at the turn of the nineteenth century.

While students have studied glass at CIA ever since, the college’s Glass program is much younger. It was officially listed as a department in course catalogs in 1973, soon after the American studio glass movement started in the 1960s in Toledo.

Fifty years after the program’s humble beginnings, Risk + Discovery: Glass Innovation at CIA will celebrate glass in all its forms, drawing connections to the unique learning environment of the college and its influence on the creative vocabulary of the region and beyond.

The exhibition will open from 6 to 8pm on April 6 in Reinberger Gallery and remain on view through June 16. It will feature makers working in glass or whose creative practice was influenced by the program’s pedagogy, including current and former CIA faculty, technical specialists, alumni and students.

“It will be interesting to look at the number of different voices that have developed over that period,” says Faculty Emeritus Brent Kee Young, who founded CIA’s Glass program and chaired it for 41 years. “The ways our medium has grown in popularity—but more importantly, in ways of expression—is mindboggling.”

Benjamin Johnson, Transition, fused sheet glass, rollup, diamond-engraved, 16 X 5.5 X 5.5 inches, 2021.

“While many are introduced to—and think of—glass as being blown, it’s so much more,” Young continues. “Visitors to Risk + Discovery should bear in mind that former students, now professionals, have made their marks in craft, fine art, design, decorative design, lighting, sculpture, decorative art, materialism and more.”

“Many of the artists had little to no experience with glass prior to being exposed to it at CIA and have gone on to be important practicing artists, designers and teachers—not only in the region, but internationally,” says faculty member Benjamin Johnson, who leads CIA’s Glass program today as part of the Craft + Design major. “It’s important to note how successful students have been at CIA, with only an undergraduate program, compared to schools with undergraduate and graduate programs for glass.”

Reinberger Gallery Director Nikki Woods says, “I’m thrilled to examine glass through the prism of exhibition-making. I’m interested in collaborating with Brent, Ben and alumni to tell a story about glass at CIA and how this material has influenced makers over the past fifty years.”

11610 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44106



Student Independent Exhibition, February 17–March 9. Opening 6-9pm Friday, February 17

Dan Cuffaro sabbatical Exhibition, Friday, March 3

Risk + Discovery: Glass Innovation at CIA, April 6–June 16. Opening 6-9pm Thursday, April 6

Spring Show/Runway Show, Tuesday, April 25

BFA Exhibition, Friday, May 12

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