The 2017 Robert M. Minkoff Foundation Academic Symposium at UrbanGlass

October 12th - October 14th, 2017
Event, Symposium

Issues in Glass Pedagogy: “Curriculum and Career”

New York gallery tour | presentations | moderated discussions | breakout sessions | networking opportunities

Join us for the third edition of our biennial academic symposium at UrbanGlass, a unique opportunity for glass department heads, faculty members, instructors, and students to discuss with their peers the changing fine-art landscape in academia, and best practices in the lecture hall and studio. New for 2017: A special focus on the post-graduate world and how to best prepare students for success through curriculum and programs.


Artist Rachel Berwick, head of the Rhode Island School of Design's glass department, will lead off the third iteration of the symposium with her lecture entitled: “Alchemy: Innovation and Experimentation in Studio Practice” at 9 AM on October 13, 2017.

Designed for professors at degree-granting institutions but open to all glass educators and arts administrators, three days of provocative presentations and formal and informal idea exchange will take place at the center of the New York City artworld, with an organized tour of glass at Chelsea art galleries and social events throughout the symposium.

Taking place from October 12 - 14, 2017 in New York City, the upcoming meeting of glass art educators will examine the factors that determine students' post-graduate success, with investigations into the economic challenges facing professional contemporary artists, as well as the educational interventions that are most effective in preparing graduates to thrive.

From in-depth presentations on how to best prepare students for the post-graduate realities of life as an independent artist to discussions of ways universities offer practical support for recent graduates as they establish themselves, the 2017 symposium will examine the question of career from multiple angles, with case studies from universities and schools around the world.

The symposium program is designed in consulation with an advisory committee made up of Pilchuck artistic direcor Tina Aufiero; independent artist Daniel Clayman; Minkoff Foundation director, GLASS magazine editor, and symposium organizer Andrew Page; head of glass and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University Jack Wax; UrbanGlass education director Ben Wright, and managing trustee Robert Minkoff.

The previous two symposiums each attracted 100 faculty and educators from as far away as Australia, Finland, and Japan, for a provocative mix of lectures, panel discussions, and studio demos. In addition to the formal programming, the three-day event will be organized to maximize opportunities for informal exchange and networking, and will kick off with our regular walking tour of top galleries in Chelsea.

Download the full program from the 2015 Robert M. Minkoff Academic Symposium at UrbanGlass for a sample of the types of presentations and events.

Registration for the 2017 event is $175, with a special student rate of $125 (valid I.D. required). Attendees are responsible for their own lodgings, and special hotel rates will be posted as they are negotiated.


Case Study: Rainfield at MassArt, Public Art Project as Curriculum

As part of my art practice, I'm an educator-at-large, engaging in teaching and residencies with numerous colleges and universities. During this past academic year I was engaged by the Massachusetts College of Art and Design to create a site-specific installation in the recently completed Design Media Center. I formulated a class that allowed the students to be part of every stage of the process from the conception of the idea to the engineering and production. The class culminated with the opening of RAINFIELD in January 2017. This symposium lecture will cover my engagement with academia and how projects like this can create professional opportunities for students.

DANIEL CLAYMAN is a Studio Artist and Educator-at-Large, teaching and lecturing at numerous colleges, universities and workshop programs. In recent years he has been focusing on large-scale, site-specific installations, most recently Radiant Landscape at Grounds For Sculpture. For symposium attendees only, Clayman will offer an Optional Add-On Activity on Sunday, October 15th: an artist-led tour of his monumental Radiant Landscape at a sculpture garden in nearby Hamilton, New Jersey.

Ways of Being: A Holistic Approach to Art Education

CAROLINE WOOLARD is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at the University of Hartford who is internationally recognized for her work at the intersection of art, technology, and political economy. Woolard has co-founded barter networks and (2008-2013) as well as cultural equity platforms BFAMFAPhD and, a study center for collaborative methods developed by artists.

Titrations: Curricular Integrations of Material Paradox for the Budding Glass Practitioner

During the 2016-2017 academic year, Dr. Jane Cook partnered with Rochester Institute of Technology Glass faculty to facilitate an educational experience that examined the intersection at which glass science and glass art converge. With the invitation to fully embrace failure, the project proposed by Dr. Cook and RIT Glass faculty culminated in a research-driven exploration; one tasking students with thinking about glass-based phenomena and putting it to test. Not as artists, however, but as materials engineers. This two-part lecture will expound upon this experimental project, speaking to its merits as an intervening educational opportunity and how its objectives directly and indirectly assist a student build towards a thriving professional practice. The presentation will also approach key areas on which an understanding of material science and engineering can enable glass art and craft: the roots of innovation in rigorous play and observation; a fact-informed praxis to give confidence and extend capabilities; and deeper insight into glass’ nature for conceptual inspirations.

As Chief Scientist at The Corning Museum of Glass, Dr. JANE COOK infuses glass science concepts into exhibits and public programs, and lectures widely to teach artists how scientific and engineering fundamentals can inform their work. She holds a Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and worked as an engineer and research scientist for over 20 years before joining CMoG.

DAVID SCHNUCKEL is an artist who works primarily with glass, a writer who writes primarily about issues related to glass, and an educator who teaches how to think about and work with glass. He holds a BA from Anderson University and an MFA in Glass from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Schnuckel’s work exhibits internationally and can be found in the permanent collections of the GlazenHuis in Lommel Belgium, Glasmuseet Ebeltoft of Ebeltoft, Denmark, and the Museum of American Glass in Millville, New Jersey. Schnuckel has taught at Alfred University, the National College of Art and Design, China Central Academy of Fine Arts, the Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Crafts, and The Studio at The Corning Museum of Glass.

RISD Glass: A Pedagogical Powerhouse

As industry professionals debated the craft-art-design divide, craft was being actively reclaimed by a new generation of artists who embraced its distinctive qualities to take on today’s most pressing issues. Materials such as fiber and ceramics, which have traditionally been more gender-neutral than other media, have paved the way for a diversity of practice and practitioner, creating a rich field deeply engaged in issues of society, politics, environment, visibility, to name just a few considerations. This version of craft is expansive, experimental, and occasionally infiltrates the contemporary-art world. It's emerging from creative practices utilizing materials such as fiber, ceramics, metal, wood, and glass, but doing so in a multimedia, cross-disciplinary way and taking on the forms of sculpture, installation, and performance.

While work made in the Studio Glass tradition often gets a bad name today, the origins of the movement were ripe with the experimentation that fed off the avant-garde and counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s. This experimental spirit may have abated as a commercial gallery system began to enforce a specific, object-based aesthetic in the 1990s and 2000s. But in academia, it never went away, and has been quietly nurtured at programs such as the Rhode Island School of Design’s for the last 50 years. From the earliest days of Dale Chihuly through today’s glass department head, Rachel Berwick, RISD has been consistently encouraging a robust dialogue between craft and fine art, and technical rigor and conceptual creativity, which alongside a continuous cycle of alumni faculty has produced students are well-rounded, versed in the contemporary art world and the history of their medium, and uniquely poised to utilize their technical skill to create artworks that push outward at the traditional boundaries of glass and craft.

SAMANTHA DE TILLIO is Assistant Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), and a specialist in modern and contemporary craft from the Arts and Crafts to today. Her most
recent exhibitions include “Judith Leiber: Crafting a New York Story” (MAD, April 4 to August 6, 2017) and “Aaron Pexa: The Spoils of Annwn” (UrbanGlass, May 24 to July 31, 2017). Her current research is focused on contemporary glass-based performance, and her interests include illuminating feminist and under-known art histories.

Staying Current in the Ivory Tower

A public conversation about the most effective strategies for faculty to keep abreast of the rapidly changing contemporary art world.

JACK WAX is a full-time artist and a professor at The Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia. The former head of the glass program at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, he has received numerous grants and fellowships.

JUSTIN GINSBERG is the Head of the Glass Area and Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Texas at Arlington. He has recently conducted residencies at Berlin Glas e.V., The Corning Museum of Glass, The Tacoma Museum of Glass, Wheaton Arts, and S12 and has taught at the Toyama Institute of Glass, The Corning Museum of Glass, and The Pilchuck Glass School (Summer 2017).



Glass | Cash

Glass | Cash will present the findings of a survey on compensation and debt in the field of Glass. How do current discussions of money, art, education, and professional practice unfold in our material-specific field? Does the scale and demographics of our community shift these conversations? What resources exist to make best-informed decisions on the plurality of paths that exist from education to professional practice? This talk will encourage glass academics to actually talk about money.

HELEN LEE is a practicing artist and the Head of Glassworking at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She holds an MFA in glass from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a B.S.A.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Featured Panel: International Approaches to Curriculum
As an academic whose education in glass began in the cornfields of Illinois and was completed in the Sunderland football stadium (by way of New England and Copenhagen), I can attest to the range of international approaches to teaching in glass art. Linked by a common material focus, there is a rich diversity in university curricula, strongly influenced by heritage and history. Significant differences can be found in the direction and genre of the works being made, the teaching of professional practice, the distribution of concept and skilled making, and ultimately the degrees being offered. Art practice-based academic research was adopted by the University of Sunderland 15 years ago, and this model is being developed in glass and art departments internationally. It has helped to develop (and fund) new technologies for glass, encourage cross-disciplinary work, contextualise and take a critical perspective to the field of practice.

Based at National Glass Centre, DR. JEFFREY SARMIENTO is Reader in Glass at the University of Sunderland. Known for his work combining the graphic image in glass, he teaches and exhibits internationally.

My education and teaching experiences -- studying and teaching in both the U.S. and Japan -- have given me a unique perspectives on approaches to how glass is taught in these two countries. I hope to offer some insights into these two contrasting styles of teaching glass, and the extent to which each approach integrates glass into a multi-disciplinary program.

SEAN SALSTROM received his BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, (RISD). He held an adjunct faculty position in the Glass Department at RISD from 2006 until 2010. He was the recipient of an artist residency at the Nagoya University of Arts in Japan and lived and worked in Japan where he was an associate professor at the Toyama City Institute of Glass Art. He is currently Assistant Professor of Hot Glass at University of Wisconson, Stevens Point.


What makes our glass art curriculum different at the China Academy of Art? In ten years of Bachelors and Masters Program what kind of experience have we acquired? What kind of progress have we made through the help of international cooperations and workshops?So as to adapt to a developing society,we educators have changed and improved our curriculum over the years and this is what I would like to share with my colleagues and glass art enthusiasts. We have now reached crossroads at CAA in our glass art program.For the first ten years we had been focusing on setting up a fully-operational educational platform: casting,coldworking,lampworking workspaces and a hotshop studio.More than ever,a need for new projects and development is being felt.How are we tackling this issue and where do we move on from here.

LI WEN is the Head of the Glass Studio and the Head of the Crafts Art Department at the China Academy of Art found in Hangzhou.


I am eager to discuss new models and platforms of research in the crafts, and will present a case study of the structure and programs at the Ceramics and Glass Department of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.

ERAN EHRLICH is the head of the Ceramics and Glass Department at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. In addition to his activities as an artist and art professor, he works as freelance curator and theorist focusing on Craft.

The Gatekeepers: Behind the Curatorial Process (or, An Updated Look at How Artists Gain Entry Museum Exhibitions and Permanent Collections)

SUSIE J. SILBERT was appointed Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at The Corning Museum of Glass in 2016. Prior to joining the museum, she was an independent curator as well as a lecturer on the History of Glass at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her recent exhibitions include #F*nked!, exploring the relationship between digital interfaces and handmade objects, Concept:Process, at Parsons The New School for Design, Material Location at UrbanGlass, and SPRAWL, an interdisciplinary exhibition interpreting urban development at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Her writing has appeared in exhibition catalogs for the Chrysler Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and UrbanGlass as well as American Art Collector, GLASS Quarterly, Metalsmith, the American Craft Council website and the forthcoming book CAST, on casting in all media, edited by Jen Townshend and Renee Zettle-Stirling. She holds an MA in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from the Bard Graduate Center.

SAMANTHA DE TILLIO is Assistant Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), and a specialist in modern and contemporary craft from the Arts and Crafts to today. Her most recent exhibitions include “Judith Leiber: Crafting a New York Story” (MAD, April 4 to August 6, 2017) and “Aaron Pexa: The Spoils of Annwn” (UrbanGlass, May 24 to July 31, 2017). Her current research is focused on contemporary glass-based performance, and her interests include illuminating feminist and under-known art histories.

The Digital Apprentice

Instructional videos and other social media are redefining how glass technology and knowledge is transferred, subverting the traditional education structures such as the the master- apprentice relationship. In response to this digital landscape, our culture now retains information in a much different manner.  This lecture introduces new strategies that are inspired by the digital way of learning. We are utilizing the GIF, the meme, and the instructional video to create a unified foundation of best practices in a glass studio, available as an open source platform.

ALLI HOAG works with glass, installation, video, performance, and digital technology to investigate human desire to connect with the world around oneself, and to reveal the simultaneous lightness and heaviness created when the imagined or invisible is labored into the physical realm. Alli holds a BFA in Glass from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and an MFA from Alfred University. She currently serves as Glass Area Head at Bowling Green State University, in Bowling Green, Ohio.

ZAC WEINBERG's projects address the systems by which we interpret and allocate status to objects. His glass and mixed media works have been exhibited at home and abroad in venues including UrbanGlass, Glassmuseet Ebeltoft, and Glasenhuis, Belgium. Weinberg, who received a BFA from Alfred University and an MFA from OSU, was the inaugural Kanik Chung Memorial Fellow at MassArt. He lives and works as an artist/educator/technician in northwest Ohio.

Flipping the Syllabus: Questioning Academia’s Orthodoxies

Optics. Ephemerality. Translucency. Materiality. Alchemy. Phenomenon. Performance. New Media. Scientific Method. Illusion. Cabinet of Curiosity. Is there a profile or a style that constitutes good artwork from an academic perspective? Does 19th-century Enlightenment thinking get fetishized by academic glass programs at the expense of a more expansive take on art practice, research, and making?

Kitsch. Color. Craft. Figure. Formalism. Intuition. Politics. Emotion. Mythology. Narrative. What rules and assumptions do we abide by as educators, and where do these rules and assumptions come from? Has glass academia become so insular that students are missing out on contexts, opportunities, and contemporary conversations?

Flipping the Syllabus is a workshop that asks educators to question their assumptions about teaching glass. It will begin with a short slide introduction and will transition to small breakout group activities where participants discuss orthodoxies and rules they adhere to and how those notions influence their teaching. This workshop will guide a conversation about expansive approaches to teaching glass.

KIM HARTY  is Assistant Professor and Section Head of Glass at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan.

Subverting a Mandatory and Arbitrary System of Rules

This approach focuses on a methodology which creates innovative parameters and assignments, adapts new critique strategies which subvert biases within the structure of critique, and empowers students to be confident, creative, proactive, conscientious, and free-thinking humans.

JUSTIN GINSBERG is the Head of the Glass Area and Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Texas at Arlington. He has recently conducted residencies at Berlin Glas e.V., The Corning Museum of Glass, The Tacoma Museum of Glass, Wheaton Arts, and S12 and has taught at the Toyama Institute of Glass, The Corning Museum of Glass, and The Pilchuck Glass School (Summer 2017).

Panel: Hardcore Craft

While many educational institutions focus on theory and conceptual strategies, some programs put a premium on technical mastery as a centerpiece of the curriculum. In this panel discussion, representatives of the Appalachian Center for Crafts in Smithville, Tennessee; Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina; and Palomar College in San Marcos, California, will discuss how their approaches and outcomes.

"Craft skill is a language. Our technical ability provides us the vocabulary to approach ideas and aesthetics with intention and precision. While an insistence on skill for the sake of prowess can be a slippery slope, it opens up a wider dialogue of expression," says MICHAEL HERNANDEZ, Associate Professor and Glass Program Head at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. 


International artist DEBRA RUZINSKY is an educator, writer, and director of the Appalachian Center for Craft. Part of Tennessee Tech University, the Center has well equipped studios and accomplished faculty in glass, metals, clay, wood, and fiber, with the mission to prepare students by building a strong foundation in craft technique and best professional practices. With a BA in Design from UCLA and an MFA in Glass from RIT, Debra has been an educator and administrator in programs that have ranged from design based to conceptually based to skills-driven. With a prior career as a designer and maker for the entertainment industry, Debra brings a broad perspective to her role as director of a program that embraces traditional skill and fresh perspectives in materials based making.


Representing Penland as a former student, instructor, and board member, DANIEL CLAYMAN is a Studio Artist and Educator-at-Large, teaching and lecturing at numerous colleges, universities and workshop programs. In recent years he has been focusing on large-scale, site-specific installations, most recently Radiant Landscape at Grounds For Sculpture. For symposium attendees only, Clayman will offer an Optional Add-On Activity on Sunday, October 15th: an artist-led tour of his monumental Radiant Landscape at a sculpture garden in nearby Hamilton, New Jersey.

Myths of Success in the Arts & What We Can Do About It

In 2014, the collective BFAMFAPhD analyzed Census Bureau data in order to get a better picture of what life for arts graduates looks like. They found and widely promoted a statistic that only 10-percent of people with arts degrees were working as artists. That statistic caught a few headlines, garnering some media attention for the project, but it lacked some really important context. How many people with any kind of degree end up with paid work in that field? How many people with philosophy degrees or even art history degrees, for example, end up becoming paid philosophers or art historians? The answer is very few, in large part because the graduates themselves decided to pursue other paths and also because there are very few paid jobs in those fields relative to the number of graduates. But many students and teachers still hold beliefs about success in the arts built on myths and false information. In this talk, I’ll share some of the facts behind the myths and suggest a more realistic picture of what success means in there arts for graduates and non-graduates alike, with the hope of reducing some of the frustration and heartache many feel when they fail to live up to these myths.

ALEXIS CLEMENTS is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. A regular contributor to Hyperallergic, her writing has also appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, Bitch Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, The Guardian, Nature, and Two Serious Ladies, among others. She has also had her creative work published and produced in a number of venues in the US and the UK. She is currently working on a documentary film about physical spaces where queer women gather, titled All We've Got. Learn more about her work at Follow her @alexisclements

Panel Discussion: The Relentless Pursuit

A decade ago, Contemporary Craft Theory was different. Ten years ago, the blurred connections between various contemporary fields were noticed but enjoyed little academic focus. In this decade, we have witnessed volumes, journals, and anthologies published with a spotlight on material knowledge as it ushers trends in contemporary art. Many of these papers (even today) sideline glass both as a material and as a community of conceptual thinkers and makers. This panel of artists who have received their MFA’s in glass within the last 10 years, will discuss an ongoing shift in thinking about how we work with, in and around the material. Plainly needed is a more comprehensive critical dialogue within the glass community in order to do justice to this amalgamated way of working. This panel will investigate the architecture of the glass community in the hopes that with this inspection we can bolster an expansion.

Moderator SARAH MIZER is an Assistant Professor and Administrative Director of the Art Foundation Program at VCUarts at Virginia Commonwealth University; Executive Board member of 1708 Gallery in Richmond, Virginia; and Visiting Professional Artist at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio. Mizer earned her BFA from Alfred University and an MFA from VCU. Her material-based research further developed as artist-in- residence at Penland, Haystack, Houston Center for
Contemporary Craft, The Studios of Key West and Mountain Lake Biological Station.

DAVID KING is an artist, educator, and technician currently living in Philadelphia. With a BFA from the Ohio State University and an MFA form Tyler School of Art, King has taught at several University glass programs and craft workshops, including OSU, Tyler, University of the Arts, Pilchuck Glass School and North Lands Creative Glass.

SUZANNE PECK is a visual artist, writer, curator and educator. Her art practice -- teaching, making, lecturing, learning -- is the major engine driving Suzanne around the globe. She has taught and exhibited all over the United States, Europe, and Australia and her work is held in both public and private collections.

HIROMI TAKIZAWA was born and raised in Nagano, Japan and lives in southern California. Curiosity, experimentation, narrative, and materiality are the core concepts that she investigates in her work.

KRISTEN NEVILLE TAYLOR's diverse practice combines drawing, sculpture, and glass to unearth multiple perspectives in environmental and political histories. Taylor’s work has been shown at Vox Populi, PNCA and Expo Chicago and she has curated several exhibitions including Landscape Techne at Little Berlin; The Usable Earth at the Esther Klein Gallery; and Middle of Nowhere in the Pine Barrens.

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Event Schedule
October 12th - October 14th, 2017
UrbanGlass Studio
647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217