Founded in 1987, Glass Axis has been Columbus’ long-standing hub for creating opportunities through advancing glass art education. Launched by a handful of alumni of The Ohio State University who were in need of a studio to hone their craft, the intent was to create a space where the community could engage with artists and learn more about what goes into creating these pieces by hand. Glass Axis’ first location was in what is now the Arena District. In the late 90s, the organization relocated to Grandview, before relocating again to its current location in 2014 at 610 W. Town St. in Franklinton.
“When individuals first encounter glass art, they may not fully understand the time, effort and expense of creating these works,” said Rex Brown, executive director of Glass Axis. “By offering a space where the community can engage with the craft and the artists who create these works of art, our hope is that individuals will grow to appreciate, value and support these artists and their work.”
From Grass Roots Beginnings to Global Recognition
Glass Axis is now among the top 10 public glass art studios in the world. Each year, the organization hosts multiple professional glass artists, providing them access to equipment and space, along with opportunities to instruct the public on their unique techniques. From demonstrations and classes, to tours and a gift shop that’s open to the public, today Glass Axis has six paid staff, trains more than 40 volunteers each year, and generated more than $660,000 in revenue over the past year. Additionally, the organization hosts approximately 5,000 individuals annually for its classes and demonstrations, plus the tens of thousands of festival attendees who visit booths and purchase products throughout the summer months at the Columbus Arts Festival (June 8–10, 2018) and the Grove City Wine and Arts Festival (June 15–16, 2018).
“What many may not realize, is the start-up cost required to pursue glass art,” said Brown. “What makes our studio uniquely appealing to many artists is that Glass Axis owns and maintains more than $500,000 worth of equipment. And we make this equipment available to professionals and the public alike, to engage, advance and educate individuals through the medium of glass art. Additionally, each spring Glass Axis welcomes an influx of recent college graduates, who are just getting started in their careers and use the space to further refine their techniques, develop the business skills needed, and develop relationships with the local arts community.”
How You Can Help Glass Axis Continue to Thrive:
Here are ways that you can interact with this social enterprise in the coming months:
- Visit Glass Axis for its Fantastical Creatures Gallery Exhibition, May 11 through June 30 (Tuesdays through Saturdays). Glass Axis collaborated with several local elementary school art programs to have students create, draw and write stories about monsters. Glass Axis selected 11 student works to then create glass sculptures of their monsters. The students and the artists will display their works, and Glass Axis will host an open house on May 11. (The CD102.5 ice cream truck will be there, too.)
- Stop by the Glass Axis gift shop to pick up a Mother’s Day gift during its Annual Spring Sale, May 11–13.
- Sign your kids up for one of two Kids Summer Art Camps in June (for ages 7+).
- Take a class. Whether you have never taken a class previously, have taken just one class and have fallen in love with the craft, or you know enough to be dangerous, come explore new techniques during one of the upcoming 2018 Visiting Artist Summer Workshops.
- Visit Glass Axis during Franklinton Fridays, a monthly neighborhood gallery hop that takes place the second Friday of each month.
- Bring a glass piece that needs to be repaired or replaced to see if a local artist can do the work.
- Volunteer for Glass Axis. Help out in the gift shop, or help greet people when they arrive at the studio.
- Need studio space? Contact Rex Brown ([email protected]) about a 2,000 square-foot space he’s looking to rent out.
For more information, visit glassaxis.org.
Founded in 2014, SocialVentures is a nonprofit organization that advances remarkably good businesses—businesses that intentionally integrate social impact as a non-negotiable component of their business model. To learn more about organizations like Glass Axis, please visit SocialVentures’ online Marketplace. The Marketplace features profiles of more than 100 local social enterprises. You can use the ‘Cause’ drop-down filter to learn more about how you can support other local social enterprises, whose impact area is dedicated to the arts.
Each month, SocialVentures and The Metropreneur feature a social enterprise to help generate awareness in the community, to demonstrate how everyday purchases of both consumer and business products and services can be leveraged to create positive change in our community.
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