The New Mexico Art Glass Trails will be a self-guided exploration of all places associated with contemporary art glass throughout our state. Still in development, the map and guide will identify and highlight the artist studios, galleries, museums, as well as community and educational centers that represent New Mexico’s significant contribution to the art glass industry.
The Arts Trails Program is an art and economic development initiative designed to put New Mexico artists on the map and bring the market to artisans and enterprises statewide. This program, developed by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and supported by the National Endowment of the Arts, provides promotional incentives to participants. As part of this program, TIGA has received grant funding to help develop the Art Glass Trails initiative. Our goal is to establish New Mexico as a mecca for glass arts, bringing contemporary art glass to the forefront of our state’s art scene.
New Mexico occupies a special place in the history of the American Studio Glass Movement. Starting with the opening of “The Gloryhole” on Santa Fe’s Canyon Road in 1968, there have been a prolific number of glass artists who have called New Mexico home. Many were attracted to the artistic spirit as well as the enchanted landscape of the region. Most of these early artists went about their work in isolation with varying degrees of commercial success, with some reaching elevated artistic status.
During the 1990’s, New Mexico’s glass art scene was impacted when Dale Chihuly committed to educational programs for local pueblo students. As a result there are new generations of Native American artists receiving national recognition for incorporating traditional themes in a contemporary medium.
During the next decade, New Mexico emerged as a player in the national arena. Glass Alliance – New Mexico took on the challenge of making New Mexico the preferred destination for glass and fine art collectors. In 2008 the first Taos Art Glass Invitation was held and a major exhibition of glass as artifact, vessel, and sculpture was presented by the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe.
Currently, New Mexico artists working in glass include those who have been recognized nationally and internationally as well as others who continue to follow their passions and produce art objects that delight and inspire. We have been able to identify more than 200 individual artists who offer their art work to the public.
There are thriving community and educational centers that encourage participation and exploration, offering classes and experiences. Galleries are a vital part of the Contemporary Art Glass scene by showcasing the best examples of leading edge design and commercially viable artwork. Museums and other special events such as the Taos Art Glass Invitational elevate the art form by celebrating the best from the past and today, highlighting the quality, vibrancy and diversity of glass.
New Mexico’s Art Glass Trails is a means to showcase these artists and venues by identifying key destinations, experiences and events. It will provide a roadmap and guide for visitors wanting to explore the exciting world of contemporary glass throughout the state.