New exhibit celebrates the beauty of studio glass

For the past couple of years, Penn State’s Palmer Museum of Art has quietly established itself as one of the premier studio glass venues on the East Coast. Beginning Tuesday and running through April, the museum will continue building upon that foundation by hosting “A Kaleidoscope of Color,” an exhibition celebrating the beauty of studio glass.

“The interest in contemporary glass on the part of collectors, galleries and museums has grown exponentially in recent years, more than a half century after the founding of the studio glass movement in the early 1960s,” said curator Joyce Robinson. “This exhibition will offer a dazzling array of contemporary glass by an international roster of preeminent glass artists.”

The museum hosted a “Luminous Allure” exhibition in 2015, and Robinson hopes that “Kaleidoscope” will pick up right where it left off, by displaying the works of yet another impressive roster of artists.

“This will be the second exhibition we’ve devoted to contemporary studio glass in the past two years, which I think demonstrates our concerted desire to celebrate and grow this part of our collection,” Robinson said. “We continue to cultivate relationships with studio glass collectors, particularly those individuals who have a connection to the Palmer or to Penn State and who are excited about what the future holds for studio glass in central Pennsylvania.”

Studio glass has long been a passion for Penn State graduates Bette and Arnold Hoffman. After decades of acquiring pieces, the couple now shares their collection with the Palmer Museum. The thought is that this exhibition will better familiarize the Centre region with this unique medium while further cementing the museum’s reputation for groundbreaking exhibitions.

“We’re excited to be riding the growing wave of interest in studio glass and extremely grateful for the generosity of so many collectors who have designated the Palmer as the final home for their remarkable collections,” Robinson said. “Paramount for them is the awareness that our university audience, residents of the region and visitors from outside the state will one day make the trek to State College to visit a must-see destination for contemporary glass.”

Often utilizing a torch, a kiln or glass blowing to perfect their craft, the wide variety of options available to studio glass artists goes a long way to help bolster their creativity. The 3-D final product allows viewers to fully immerse themselves into the piece, allowing for an intimate view of their exquisite beauty and appreciation of the artistic process itself.

“For many audiences, studio glass is more accessible than other contemporary art forms,” Robinson said. “There is something magical and awe inspiring about glass, both the alchemical miracle of its making and the technical virtuosity required of its fearless practitioners.”

With notable pieces from renowned artists like Lino Tagliapietra, Oben Abright, Dante Marioni and others, the Palmer Museum is poised to carry on its proud tradition of showcasing beautiful and everlasting art that will inform and entertain all of its visitors.

“There is truly something timeless in any beautiful creation,” Robinson said. “Whether it’s a luminous glass vessel, a well-constructed sonnet or a beautifully sung aria, and ‘A Kaleidoscope of Color’ offers just that.”


  • What: “A Kaleidoscope of Color: Studio Glass at the Palmer”
  • When: Tuesday-April 30
  • Where: Palmer Museum of Art, University Park
  • Info: www.palmermuseum.psu.edu