Global Luminaries Glass Weekend

Glass artists and glass lovers converge on Sarasota for this third annual event.

By Jasmine Respess January 27, 2017

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In Sarasota, glass is a big deal. During the 2017 Glass Weekend, taking place through Jan. 29, this will be made abundantly clear.

The third annual Glass Weekend will showcase the art form at the Longboat Key Center of the Arts, an affiliate of Ringling College of Art and Design, with the Habatat Gallery, based in Michigan, providing the bulk of the glass pieces on exhibit. But the overall event will also involve the Rosemary District's Alfstad & Contemporary Gallery as well as the Habatat pop-up gallery on Whitney Beach, which will host glass art from artists from across the globe. The countries represented include Hungary, France, Australia, China, the Czech Republic, the United States and more.

“This weekend there are people and glass artists coming from all over the world and the United States,” director of the Longboat Key Center for the Arts Jane Buckman says.

There are other opportunities for glass lovers besides those at the Longboat center and the Alfstad gallery, where works by Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett are on view. The Glass Weekend also creates a chance for a hard hat tour at the site of the upcoming Kotler/Coville Pavilion, which was made possible by these families donating their glass collections, at The Ringling Museum. That pavilion will open later this spring.

The Ringling College is also building a visual arts center with a hot shop, so that glass art can be produced at the college. “Glass is a big thing here is Sarasota,” Buckman says. “It is getting bigger.”

Participants will be provided the opportunity to engage in activities including artist talks and a tour of the Barbara and Richard Basch Collection at Ringling College of Art and Design.

Taken altogether, this is the largest collection of glass that has ever been on the west coast of Florida, and there is no shortage  of ways to experience it.

“The weekend is all activities, from auctions to bus tours into St. Pete, bus tours to studios, and glass blowing demonstrations to culminate Saturday night in a reception at Longboat Key Center for the arts along with the pop-up gallery in Whitney Plaza,” Buckman says.

The shows will be up until Feb. 24 and galleries will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A public opening reception on Longboat Key will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday night.

There are hundreds of pieces of glass across all of the galleries. “There are glass collectors, glass artists and glass enthusiasts,” Buckman says. “On the Gulf Coast of Florida, there are many contemporary studio glass collectors, and a number of them live in Sarasota.”

This event is a great opportunity to begin a glass collection, expand a glass collection and learn about studio glass art in Sarasota and beyond. For more information, call (941) 383-2345 or visit

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