Keystone College is well known for preparing fine arts students for specialized careers in the field of glass making. The College’s on-campus glass studio, featuring all the equipment and technology needed to produce fine works in the artistic medium of glass, is regarded as the best in the region.
Now, thanks to a state program and a partnership with the historic Dorflinger Glass Museum in White Mills, Pa., Keystone is literally taking its glass making capabilities on the road with the construction of a mobile glass studio for use at local schools, festivals, conferences, and concerts.
Production of the glass studio got underway during the week of June 15 as Keystone College students and glass experts from around the nation, and from as far away as Colombia, South America, gathered on campus to construct the studio.
When finished, the mobile studio, complete with its own glass furnace and all the component parts of a working glass studio, will be driven to local schools beginning this fall to provide high school students with a unique opportunity to experience glass making. In addition to the artistic and aesthetic aspect of the process, students will learn some of the chemistry and physics principles behind the heating and molding of raw materials used to make glass objects.
Funding for the project originated from Dorflinger, which gave Keystone $40,000 it received through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Earned Income Tax Credit program. Keystone was also accepted by DCED as a partner in the program. In addition to its artistic benefits, the mobile glass studio will be used to teach glass making techniques and other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) principles in local high schools.
“We expect this will be a unique learning experience for local students in a variety of ways,” said Keystone Art Professor Ward Roe, who has been involved in project’s organization. “The process of making glass not only involves great artistry but important scientific principles. We can’t wait to complete this mobile studio and bring it to schools across Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
The mobile glass studio, the only one of its kind in the region, will be operated by Keystone faculty member James Harmon, an internationally recognized glass-making artist and combustion engineering expert. Currently, 10 school districts have agreed to participate in the mobile-glass program: Wayne Highlands, Western Wayne, Wallenpaupack, Scranton, Lackawanna Trail, Blue Ridge, Carbondale, Forest City, Montrose and Mountain View. Plans call for the studio to be taken to schools districts for two-day hot-glass learning events.
In addition to the partnership with Dorflinger, Professor Roe said that many other local businesses have provided discounted services or materials to help complete the project.
“This has truly been a community effort. We thank our partners from Dorflinger, Harbison-Walker International, Nivert Metal Supply, Inc., and all the local companies and businesses that have come together to make this a truly great project. In addition, we have had glass experts travel to Keystone from great distances to help with this project. Of course, the people who will benefit most are local students who will be able to experience the artistic and scientific wonder of the glass-making process right in their own schools.”
Photo Caption: Volunteers Jade Usachas (left), Toronto Canada; and Tobias Katz, Columbus, Ohio (center); begin work with Keystone faculty member James Harmon (right), on the Keystone College Mobile Glass Studio.