BY LENNIE BENNETT
Times Art Critic
Duncan McClellan was operating on optimism when he left his longtime Tampa digs and invested in an old processing plant in a scruffy industrial area near Midtown in 2010, using most of his savings to convert it into a multiuse building and major artistic statement for his thriving glass studio.
His optimism was well-founded. In less than two years, the area has become a hot spot for other artists who have moved nearby into other old buildings.
McClellan is making things even hotter now, literally and figuratively. On Saturday he's throwing a party to debut his new hot shop, a state-of-the-art operation he has installed in another warehouse adjacent to his current location. With several big new furnaces and glory holes (used to soften the glass before blowing and shaping it into vessels) that reach temperatures between 2,200 and 2,600 degrees, he'll be able to create his signature glass art on site. And, more to his point, he can welcome other glass artists from around the world to participate in creative and educational endeavors both for students in public and private schools and for fellow professionals.
For the grand opening celebration, studio glass movement pioneer Fritz Dreisbach will visit from his home and studio in Washington state.
The free party includes live entertainment and glassblowing demonstrations in the new hot shop. Beer, wine and food will be available for donations that go to DMG School Project, McClellan's community education initiative.
Lennie Bennett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8293.