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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Jane Buckman (Imagine Museum)

Bill DeYoung

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Art glass, also known as studio glass, has come into its own as a creative medium in the last 50-plus years. Glass is notoriously difficult to work with, but the range of styles and varieties of form and color are staggering.

Imagine Museum executive director Jane Buckman admits that there’s most likely still a stigma attached to art glass – that’s it no more than pretty vases, or the cute little see-through animal figurines we all remember from Grandma’s knick-knack shelf.

That’s hardly the case.

“When you see the work in this museum, and in other museums now around the country, there’s no question about how these artists have elevated this material, as a fine art material,” Buckman said on Tuesday’s edition of The Catalyst Sessions.

Barely two years old, the Imagine Museum houses a world-class collection of art – somewhere around 400 pieces are on permanent display, and they change regularly – and it’s one of St. Petersburg’s must-see museum destinations.

Because of the Imagine, the Morean Art Center’s Chihuly Collection, the Duncan McClellan Studio and other glass centers, the International Glass Art Society chose to hold its 2019 convention in St. Pete.

The campaign to designate our area as “Florida’s Glass Coast” is picking up momentum. It is, Buckman suggested, only aspirational at this point.

“What we would like to see is more of the glass artists setting up shop in this area,” she said. “I think the more glass artists that we have, the more active the scene will become. And especially with our museum, and with the quality of work in this museum, I think it does push everybody who is currently here working with glass to push a little harder.

“Many of the glass artists would not have been exposed to any work like this unless the museum was here. Because this artwork is not everywhere. You really have to travel to see this kind of work.”

In our wide-ranging interview, Buckman looked at a half-dozen photographs of pieces from the Imagine collection, making descriptive comments along the way.

The museum is open on a limited basis – read all about it on the website.

Today (Wednesday, May 13) on The Catalyst Sessions: Mural artist Derek Donnelly.

Streaming weeknights at 7 on the Catalyst Facebook page.

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