Fired Up

Over 50 Innovators in Contemporary Glass Art

Artist Dan Friday at work. Courtesy of the artist.


Hartford, Conn. (August 29, 2022)—Over 50 contemporary glass artists breathe new life into nature’s most volatile medium in Fired Up: Glass Today, opening at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art on September 16, 2022. Of more than 150 works on view, approximately half were created exclusively for this exhibition or will make their public debut at the Wadsworth. Special live events including glass working demonstrations at an on-site hot shop feature artists who will bring the magic of glass to Hartford this fall. Fired Up will be on view through February 5, 2023.

“This group of exceptional artists is taking risks, forging new paths, and inspiring people with glass as a means of expression,” said Brandy Culp, Richard Koopman Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Wadsworth and curator of the exhibition. “The work in Fired Up is exceptional for its sculptural beauty and technical skill but also for its ability to make bold social statements.”

Pushing the limits

Works by glass maestros such as Nancy Callan, Sidney Hutter, Dante Marioni, Lino Tagliapietra, and Tim Tate test the physical and aesthetic potentials of glass. At the same time, the works in the exhibition question cultural assumptions about sexuality, relationships, racial equality, and the environment.

Among them are Kim Thomas’ Cloud Capturing Apparatus, Hannah Gibson’s Recycling Narratives, A Tangible Hope made from recycled COVID-19 vaccine bottles, and Dan Friday’s installation Schaenexw (Salmon) Run, each signaling human impact on nature’s delicate balance. Seattle artist Megan Stelljes’s Neon Wallpaper and This Shit is Bananas both colorfully employ humor to communicate about sex, sexuality, and consent.

Local connections in the International Year of Glass

“Fired Up is powerful for bringing a vast range of innovative glass works together and for connecting working artists with the public at the museum,” said Dr. Matthew Hargraves, Director of the Wadsworth. “Not only will you see great works of art in this exhibition, you’ll also meet the people who bring these wonderful objects into being and see how they do it in real time.”

Fired Up joins offerings by institutions worldwide including the Art Alliance for Contemporary Class (AACG) and the United Nations in celebration of the International Year of Glass 2022. The historic global initiative aligns with the 60th anniversary of Studio Glass and aims to honor glass in art, architecture, history, technology, industry, and science.


Program Highlights

Select in-person events listed below. For the full lineup of related programs, visit


September 16–18; September 23–25

September 30–October 2 & October 14

Hot Shop Demonstrations

1-2:30pm. Drop-in. Free with admission.

September 30

Curator Talk with Brandy Culp

1pm. Free with admission.

October 14

Conversation with An Artist: Amber Cowan

6pm. Free. Tickets limited, reservations required.

October 15

Lawn Party: Glass Rodeo

Noon–4pm. Free.

October 19

Public Lecture: Clearly Indigenous with Dr. Letitia Chambers

6pm. Free. Tickets limited, reservations required.

November 12

Second Saturdays for Families: Glass Reflections 

Noon–2pm. Free.

November 13

Sunday Serenades: Fall Fantasies

2pm. $30–$10. Tickets limited, reservations required.

December 17

Music in the Galleries with

Glass Harmonica Player Vera Meyer

1:30–2:30pm. Free with admission


Exhibition and Program Support

Fired Up: Glass Today is organized by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and is made possible through the generous support of Edith Olcott van Gerbig Endowment Fund, The Cheryl Chase and Stuart Bear Family Foundation, The Saunders Foundation, the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Design and Decorative Arts Council, The David T. Langrock Foundation, Mobile Glassblowing Studios, LLC, the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, Simon Abrahms, Trinity College, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Exhibition Fund supported by the estates of James Lyon, Karen Kelleher, and Susannah Shickman. The exhibition has also been made possible through the sustained commitment of Simon Abrahms and Hank Martin. The Wadsworth gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Chesterfield Gallery, Habatat Detroit Fine Art, Heller Gallery, and Schantz Galleries, as well as all participating artists and exhibitions designer Lee Weaver, for their generous assistance in bringing this project to fruition.

Sustaining support for the Wadsworth Atheneum provided by the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign, and the Department of Economic and Community Development.


Founded in 1842 with a vision for infusing art into the American experience, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is home to a collection of nearly 50,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years and encompassing European art from antiquity through contemporary as well as American art from the 1600s to today. The Wadsworth Atheneum’s five connected buildings—representing architectural styles including Gothic Revival, modern International Style, and 1960s Brutalism—are located at 600 Main Street in Hartford, Conn.

Current hours are noon–5pm Thursday–Sunday. Berkins on Main café hours are noon–4pm Thursday–Sunday. The library is open Fridays by appointment only. Visitors are encouraged to wear a face mask/covering while exploring the galleries. Face masks are required for all tours and gallery talks. Admission: $5–15; discounts for members, students, and seniors. Free admission for Hartford residents with Wadsworth Welcome registration. Free “happy hour” admission 4–5pm. Advance ticket registration via is encouraged, not required.

Phone: (860) 278- 2670; website:


AAQ / Museum Portfolio

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford / 2017


AAQ / Resource

Bruce Nagel + Partners Architects