The Glass Program operates one of the most comprehensive studio glass facilities in the United States and offers a broad art training, coupled with a focus in glass practice, integrated within a science and humanities curriculum that is designed to prepare students for varied roles as practitioners, innovators and leaders in the field. Since 1980, the Ohio State University Glass Program has supported both an undergraduate specialization in glass working art leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and graduate study leading to the Masters of Fine Arts degree.
The Program's aim is to help the student meet the challenge of visual problem solving and artistic striving by using glass as a material focus. The major emphasis throughout is upon the development of a strong visual aesthetic and an increasingly refined personal imagery. The undergraduate glass student receives practical instruction in a full range of glass working processes and becomes familiar with the use of glass forming equipment, leading to independent creative work and research. Students gain experience with the maintenance, repair, construction and design of glass studio equipment through work assignments. The Program encourages students to work collectively to accomplish goals and develop leadership qualities. Each student in the Glass Program develops a portfolio of work and explores presentation methods. Students may establish working relationships with faculty, alumni, fellow students, artists in residence, and visiting artists in an apprenticeship-like situation. The program's endowment supports regular scholarship and partnership opportunities with Pilchuck School, Penland School, the Pittsburgh Glass Center, the Northlands in Scotland, Red Deer College in Canada, Ezra studio in Japan, the Glass Furnace in Turkey, as well as support for participation in the Glass Art Society conferences, fieldtrips, and other opportunities.
The Glass facility occupies 11 rooms of the Sherman Studio Art Center on West Campus and are equipped for "hot" glass forming: glassblowing, glass casting, "warm" processes: glass fusing, slumping, casting, enameling, decorative surface work, as well as for "cold working" glass: grinding, cutting, drilling, sandblasting and construction of stained glass, and fabricated sculpture.
The university's considerable and diverse resources favor the study of Glass and Art with on-campus locations of a fully staffed laboratory glass shop (lamp worked laboratory apparatus), a major Ceramic Engineering Department, the nationally prominent Refractories Research Center, and world-renown Advanced Center for Computing and Design. In addition to a Fine Arts Library with more than 80,000 volumes, and subscriptions to 200 periodicals, Ohio State maintains an extraordinary library system including more than four million books organized into 24 different libraries. A $43 million multidisciplinary contemporary arts museum, the Wexner Center, opened in November 1989, and offers a world-class program of contemporary exhibitions and performances year-round, and features, on permanent display, a 46-ton glass sculpture, "Groundswell," by artist Maya Lin.
Columbus, the capital city of the state of Ohio, is home to the Ohio State Arts Council, the Greater Columbus Fine Arts Council, the Columbus Art League, and the Ohio Designer Craftsmen. There is a $7.5 million Chihuly collection in the greenhouses of the Franklin Park Conservatory, placed in concert with other permanent art installations including one by James Turrell. There are numerous other resources of interest to artists interested in exploring glass, including the Hawk Glass Gallery and the Columbus Museum of Fine Art. In 1987, graduates of the OSU program founded the "Glass Axis," a public access glass studio and artist's organization, which operates a comprehensive facility in Grandview, one mile south of the OSU Sherman Studio.
Geographically, the Glass Program is fortunate to be centrally located amidst Ohio's enormous glass and glass art industry. It benefits directly from this considerable material and reference resource. Ohio State is also central to Ohio's six other college glass facilities and to the Toledo Museum of Art, which houses one of the world's major glass collections and was the beginning of the Studio Glass Movement.