Celebrating Service: Creating with Fire


Founded in 2013, Hot Glass began offering classes in 2014 to 90 at-risk youth (at no charge) and hosted 25 community glassblowing events. With Iowa Arts Council support, 120 at-risk teens have learned to blow glass to date in a program that focuses on improving their lives and potential while building leadership and career skills and learning an art form.



This year, Hot Glass will expand its successful programs to serve veterans with “Celebrating Service: Creating with Fire,” inspired by the Tacoma Museum of Glass’ successful “Hot Shop Heroes” program. As the epitome of alchemy, glass blowing uses the inherent transformative nature of glass – with both its strength and fragility – to help veterans heal physically, emotionally and socially following their military service.



Art provides a unique opportunity for veterans to experience the joys and successes of creating something beautiful using a medium that even “non-art” people enjoy. Glassblowing requires careful attention to detail to heat the glass to the appropriate temperature; provide the right amount of pressure to create the desired shape; and roll, pull or twist the hot glass to achieve the desired final shapes. Glassblowing allows veterans to immediately see the results of their labor; adjustments have an immediate impact. Its physicality in a hot, sweaty shop with a need to work quickly, repeatedly and precisely creates an atmosphere where the veterans focus on their project rather than other parts of their life. Finally, glassblowing requires teamwork and precision, building on skills instilled in the military.


Hot Glass will offer “Celebrating Service: Creating with Fire” beginning in fall 2016 to provide a place where veterans can learn basic glass blowing techniques in a healing environment that many have called transformative. Begun at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass in 2013, most participants reported physical, emotional and spiritual benefits, especially veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. One veteran shared that "this class awakened a previously hidden joy in creating things by hand. I was able to actually feel something other than numb.” As such, it fits right into Hot Glass’s mission of “sharing the glass art experience to better our community.”



We are also continuing our work with local high school at-risk youth. This program is funded in part by the Riverboat Development Authority, The Doris and Victor Day Foundation, The U.S. Bank Foundation, Frederick Logan Companies, HAVlife, and the Junior Board of Rock Island


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