Studio glass is a young medium in terms of art, just a little over 50 years old. It officially began in 1962 when then-ceramics professor Harvey Littleton and chemist Dominick Labino hosted workshops at the Toledo Museum of Art using a small furnace that would allow glassblowers to work independently. Before that, decorative glass was created by large companies for a mass market. Since then, its popularity has exploded.
Here in the Tampa Bay area, we have a museumlike gallery devoted to the works of international glass superstar Dale Chihuly as well as a number of hot shops where artists create their one-of-a-kind vessels and sculptures. And studio glass exhibitions have been mounted by several of our museums.
One of the biggest regional cheerleaders is Susan Benjamin, who established a section devoted to art glass in her mother's eponymous Syd Entel Galleries in Safety Harbor about 12 years ago.
The 5,500 square feet of galleries, which usually are a mix of paintings, sculptures, prints and glass, will celebrate all things glass with "50 Years and Beyond." The group show features work by more than 30 glass artists and continues through May 11.
Sydel Entel Galleries/Susan Benjamin Glass is at 247 Main St., Safety Harbor. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Free. sydentelgalleries.com or (727) 725-1808.
Lennie Bennett, Times art critic