The Glasstown Partnership 2013

The Glasstown Partnership 2013

By Pamela Weichmann
The Glasstown Partnership program is an innovative arts education program presented by Wheaton Arts and the Millville Board of Education. The program is designed as an enrichment program which incorporates the arts with the basic skills of math, reading and writing. The intended outcome is to communicate effectively through the arts and gain an understanding of the arts to everyday life.

The Glasstown Partnership 2013 took place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, April 9th to the 25th.
Among the activities were hands-on glassmaking, museum tours, creating a glass vessel design, and glassmaking demonstrations.  The program was designed to achieve the following goals:

•    Expand the students’ vocabulary of art and South Jersey culture, thereby nurturing and building community awareness and cultural identity.
•    Visit and learn from the collections of an important community and cultural resource, The Museum of American Glass (located at and operated by WheatonArts).
•    Encourage the use of art and cultural history to formulate their own unique ideas, which nurtures skills required for work readiness.
•    Learn the value in working as a collaborative team to reach an established goal, thereby fostering socio-emotional development.

Teacher’s Guide:
The teacher’s guide, provided to teachers well in advance of the students visit, is designed to enhance the student experience. Activity sheets, vocabulary lists, and journal entries encourage students to both prepare for their upcoming visit and reflect upon new concepts and experiences gained from recently past visits.

Goal of the Visit:
The tangible goal of the visit is for the students to use the history and vocabulary to complete a finished product: a glass vessel design.

Class 1
•    Students visit the Museum of American Glass and receive an introduction to the Museum’s history, museum etiquette and are toured through the many different collections. While visiting, the children are asked to complete “The Great Glass Search”, a scavenger hunt that encourages them to brainstorm ideas for their vessel design.
•    Students gather in a classroom setting to learn about the anatomy and uses of different vessels. Vocabulary words such as foot, lip, handle and shoulder are explained by the instructor. The correlation between vessel design and functionality is thoroughly explained using hand-blown glass examples.
•    Students work together to use the knowledge they gained from their museum visit and their classroom experience to create cut-paper shapes that will be the components of a glass vessel design. In a group format, each shape will be considered for inclusion in a final vessel design.

Class 2
•    WheatonArts glass artists and students work together to choose colors and patterns for their vessel. Through this process, students learn the value in working as a collaborative team and the importance of design in relation to function.
•    After the design is finalized, students watch as WheatonArts glass artists make their design in hot glass.
Class 3
•    During their last visit, students learn three glass making techniques: how to blow a glass bubble, pull cane and stamp glass. They receive supervised hands-on experience while working with hot glass.
•    Between Class 2 and Class 3, WheatonArts staff takes the final vessel designs and has them printed on t-shirts that are handed out to the students in their final class.