N.C. Rural Center Grant Helps Grow Glass Community
The North Carolina Rural Center has awarded Central Park NC a $100,000 Economic Innovation Grant to help grow an economically vibrant glass arts community in and around the town of Star.
CPNC will use the grant money to fund artist-in-residency programs for glass artists and to expand the STARworks Glass Studio, located at STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise.
STARworks, a project of CPNC, is a sustainable business development center located in a former sock factory in Star.
Three residency programs will be offered to up to eight individual artists each year, including artists from the local community, said CPNC Executive Director Nancy Gottovi.
"With these funds, we will offer two internships for beginning artists and three residencies for emerging artists," she said. "One of the most exciting aspects of the program is that we will be able to invite three well-known artists to STARworks for short-term residencies. The visiting glass artist program will be offered for up to a month to professional glass artists."
The artist internship program will be offered to beginning level glass students who have participated in the East Montgomery High School glass program, have completed classes at Montgomery Community College, or have taken classes at another college or university. Internships will last from three to 12 months.
The emerging artist-in-residency program will be offered each year to three individuals for three to six months. Local glass artists or artists in other mediums who are interested in transitioning to glass or incorporating glass into their work will be eligible for the emerging artist program.
"The residency programs are designed so that there will be one visiting glass artist during each intern and emerging artist session to provide professional glass influence and inspiration to the less experienced artists," Gottovi said. "Our goal is to expand the accessibility of glass to more artists at different skill levels. In order to do this, STARworks Glass Studio will need some upgrades."
The studio expansion plan calls for an additional furnace, a smaller glory hole, a flameworking studio for bead and jewelry classes, and two casting kilns.
Wet Dog Glass LLC, a studio equipment fabrication company that moved its operation to STARworks after their New Orleans' facilities were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, is a partner in this project and will build the needed equipment.
"This project will go a long way in helping us grow a serious glass community here," said Eddie Bernard, owner of Wet Dog Glass LLC. "I've been working in glass for 20-plus years and can attest to the potential for economic growth that glass can have in a community."
Bernard is himself a glass artist and serves on the Star Town Board.
"We envision an annual glass festival and hope to see a glass gallery on Star's Main Street in the not too distant future," said Bernard.
"We are excited about the work that is being done through Central Park NC," said Sen. Jerry Tillman (R), Montgomery and Randolph counties. "The internships and opportunities for growth in artistic glass in and around Star can only be viewed as a great positive, both artistically and economically." Tillman added, "We appreciate the Rural Center's support of the excellent work being done by Central Park NC."
Central Park NC's mission is to promote a new economy through the sustainable use of natural and cultural resources of the organization's eight-county region, encompassing Anson, Davidson, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Rowan and Stanly counties.
For more information, visit www.centralparknc. org and www.starworks nc.org.
More like this story