Humans have been finding ways to make use of glass for thousands of years, even before we knew how to make it. Glassmaking dates back at least 4,000 years and obsidian, a naturally occurring glass, has been used to make arrowheads and blades since the Stone Age. Over time glass became an artistic medium not unlike marble or ceramics, with applications that range from practical to artistic. At the Imagine Museum in St. Pete, Florida, you can see just how diverse glass art has become today.
Opened in 2018, the museum features hundreds of pieces of contemporary glass from around the world displayed in a 34,000-square-foot gallery. Its collection started with some 500 works related to American Studio Glass, a movement that began in the 1960s.
It started with artist Harvey Littleton, who was inspired by glassmakers in Italy, Germany, and other parts of Europe. At the time, glass was largely seen as an industrial material used for things like drinking cups and window panes. Littleton, along with a number of other artists, began experimenting with more artistic, sculptural applications. (One of his early students was Dale Chihuly, whose work is displayed at the nearby Morean Arts Center.)
The Imagine Museum was founded by Trish Duggan, a philanthropist and artist who has deep ties to the studio glass movement. In the museum galleries you will find displays of glass art from America, Italy, and Japan, as well as exhibitions that focus on specific artists and themes. Highlights of the collection include delicately-draped dresses by Karen LaMonte and a glass-and-mirrors optical illusion by Tim Tate.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and students. Check the website for the most up-to-date information.