keeping a legacy alive by margo morton, writing intern
Looking to our past can be great inspiration for the present, and no one knows that better than Minnetrista and the Marilyn K. Glick Center for Glass at Ball State University.
“This region has an incredibly deep history of glassmaking, and not just with the Ball brothers,” said Minnetrista Director of Experience and Education, George Buss. “History that is continued today through us.” It all started with the discovery of natural gas in East Central Indiana during the late 1800s. This set off a boom in Indiana glassmaking, which was a huge part of the Ball brothers’ success. Minnetrista wanted to honor the long legacy of our region’s glassmakers and the Ball jar, and found a willing partner with the Glick Center. “We figured out our relationship with Glick,” Buss said. “We have a shared goal of continuing to grow community appreciation of glassmaking.” The Glick facility, located on Ball State’s campus, makes its hot shop, kiln, and expertise available for workshops while Minnetrista provides a link to the community and a process for making it all happen. “Minnetrista offers the ability to access the community in a unique way,” said Glick program director and Ball State associate professor of glass, Brent Cole. “We do a good job with semester-long courses, but this allows us to open up the experience to a larger community.” The glass Easter egg hunt is another way Minnetrista works to encourage appreciation of glass art in the region. In March, we hosted our second egg hunt in partnership with the Ball State Glass Alliance. Graduate glass art students made eggs for families to search for in Oakhurst Gardens. “The first egg hunt was a huge success for them and us,” Buss said. “What was just a sale became an experience. The event is supporting the education 6
columns issue 1, 2018
of future artists and continuing the legacy of glass makers.” Cole sees the partnership as an important way to raise awareness as well. “We provide the future of glass in the community, from an educational standpoint,” Cole said. “We make students and the community aware of glassmaking statewide, nationally, and internationally.” Imagine in Glass is returning for another year this fall. The program encourages children to use their creativity by drawing a design that could be chosen to be turned into an actual glass art piece by glassmakers at Glick. Once chosen, the child and family are invited to the center to watch the sketch come to life. “Last time, there were families who said, ‘I didn’t realize how many people it took to make glass!’ It’s a collaborative art, and they take pride in the legacy,” Buss said. “People learn that at events like these.” Discovery and Engagement Manager, Ashley Mann, agrees that the public will learn something from the partnership between Minnetrista and Glick. “You get an appreciation of the art form and an understanding of the costs and labor that go into it,” she said. “Glassmaking is a connection to a legacy. It’s a huge part of our heritage. There are ties to the past and to the Ball family—a huge part of Muncie.” Both parties see this as a collaboration built to last. Cole hopes the community takes advantage of the opportunity to attend events that provide the chance to learn more about the heritage of glass making in our community. Minnetrista continues to develop new and exciting ways to experience glass and its history hands-on. Keep an eye out for the next Hot Shop workshop.