GULFPORT — Just in time for the holidays, the furnaces in Artists Alley are roaring hot and burning bright. Metalworker Jonathan Schork and glass sculptor Owen Pach have reopened the Industrial Arts Center of Gulfport, a workshop devoted to three-dimensional creativity.
The arts center joins a host of downtown merchants for Saturday's Holiday Hoopla, a daylong event that has become a staple of Gulfport's holiday season. Sponsored in part by the city, Holiday Hoopla encourages residents and visitors to shop local by supporting the city's small businesses and artists. A portion of the event's proceeds benefit Operation Santa and needy families.
Pach and Schork are looking forward to the event as another opportunity to familiarize visitors with the beauty of glass art and metal sculpture. The only facility, according to the two, with both a hot shop for glass and a dedicated metal shop for forging and welding, IACG, at 5437 29th Ave. S, has opened its doors to the imaginations of anyone willing to create.
"Whatever a person's vision or budget, we'll work to give them an experience they can't get anywhere else," Pach said. "We're here to teach, and to provide a place where anyone can try their hand at forging metal or working with glass."
During Saturday's event, visitors will be able to create glass ornaments and icicles or buy them during the center's first holiday sale.
The artistic duo is excited about the possibilities IACG brings to the community. Along with the educational opportunities Pach and Schork themselves provide, the shop has opened its doors to any artisans willing to teach.
"We're committed to offering the kind of classes folks won't find anywhere else in the area," Pach said. Schork added that the physical environment allows people to try out different forms of 3-D art.
"If someone wants to try welding, or sculpting with metal, we'll accommodate them," he said.