By KATHY MEGYERI
The latest entry into St. Petersburg’s vibrant art scene is the three-story Imagine Museum on Central Avenue, fittingly named after the Imagine Charter School that once was located there. The nine galleries on the first floor and six on the second display amazing and comprehensive collections of major works by founding, leading, current and emerging artists who work in the field of studio glass.
Before the 1960s, contemporary glass art was made in big factories such as Tiffany or Steuben, but in 1962, Harvey Littleton and Dominik Labino collaborated to build the first kiln designed to fit into an artist’s studio.
Thus, the decorative and sculptural fine art medium began to emerge.
This collection was curated by Corey Hampson, President of Habatat Galleries (Royal Oak, Michigan) who worked with the Imagine Museum’s
benefactor, Trish Duggan, to select artists and artwork that best represent the history of the
studio glass movement in the United States.
Through 500 bedazzling miniature and massive
pieces of glass sculptures on display, over 100
glass artists tell the story of how studio glass in
America developed into the worldwide exchange of ideas, techniques, and concepts that it is today.
What makes it particularly meaningful is that famous Americans’ quotations, prominently displayed above each transom, usher visitors
from room to room.
They include Dale Chilhuly’s, “I never met a color I didn’t like,” Eleanor Roosevelt’s, “The future
belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” Albert Einstein’s “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” and Nelson Mandela’s, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”