Celebrating a rich art community and traditions unique to the region, Fluid Formations: The Legacy of Glass in the Pacific Northwest opens April 10, 2021 at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building, in Downtown Bellingham. The exhibition features the art of fifty-seven contemporary artists working in glass. Organized by Amy Chaloupka, the Museum’s Curator of Art, and working in close partnership with Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wash., the exhibition also includes works from the Whatcom Museum’s permanent collection, as well as loans from artists.
The Pacific Northwest is the epicenter of glass, spurred by the establishment of Pilchuck Glass School on a remote tree farm in Stanwood, Washington in 1971. Fifty years on, the region’s glass community has expanded significantly, defined by shared knowledge, teamwork, and an experimental spirit.
Chaloupka states, “There are more glass studios in this region than anywhere else in the world, and the world-class residency programs like Pilchuck and Museum of Glass have made the Northwest a hub of innovation for the medium. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase the wide-ranging works created here in the Pacific Northwest.”
In 1992, the Whatcom Museum organized the exhibition Clearly Art: The Legacy of Pilchuck. Nearly 30 years later, the Museum shows how artists are pushing forward innovation, community, and education in the field. The exhibition presents a striking range of processes and ideas that could only come from decades of generous exchange and shared passion for the material of glass.
Fluid Formations includes the work of 57 artists including Shelley Muzylowski Allen, Nancy Callan, Dale Chihuly, Jen Elek, Dan Friday, Kelly O’Dell, Preston Singletary, Raven Skyriver, Ethan Stern, Lino Tagliapietra, Erich Woll, and more.
To complement the exhibition at the Lightcatcher, the Museum will also feature a collection of glass birds in the John M. Edson Hall of Birds at Old City Hall. Birds by Toikka, made by renowned Finnish artist and designer Oiva Toikka (1931 – 2019) for the Finnish design company, Iittala, are on loan from Museum of Glass and will be interspersed among the Museum’s mounted bird display cases.
“The Whatcom Museum board and staff are especially pleased to partner with Museum of Glass for this amazing exhibition,” said Executive Director Patricia Leach. “I believe our visitors will be particularly impressed with the perspective that our Curator of Art, Amy Chaloupka, has taken in telling the story of how the glass artist community has evolved in the last 30 years ago.”
Fluid Formations: The Legacy of Glass in the Pacific Northwest will be on exhibit April 10 – October 10, 2021 at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St. This exhibition is organized in partnership with Museum of Glass and supported in part by Peoples Bank, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, the City of Bellingham, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
About the Whatcom Museum: The Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., offers a variety of exhibitions, programs, tours and activities about art, nature and Northwest history for all ages. Its multi-building campus is in the heart of Bellingham’s downtown Arts District. The Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St., and Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St., are open at 50% capacity due to Covid-19 safety restrictions Thursdays – Sundays, Noon – 5 PM. Admission to the Museum is free to members, $10 for general admission, $8 for youth (6-17)/students/military (with valid ID)/Seniors (62+), $5 for children 2-5 years old and free to children 2 and younger. For more information about our exhibitions and admission visit whatcommuseum.org.