Canberra Glassworks is a dynamic, professional working glassworks providing local, national and international contemporary glass artists with access to state-of-the-art equipment and a unique context to explore, develop and realise new Australian work. It is the only arts institution of its type in Australia, completely dedicated to contemporary glass, one of few like it internationally. It is valued by nationally and internationally renowned artists for its sophisticated equipment and facilities which allow them to work collaboratively and to a large scale. Its annual program includes exhibitions, artist access programs and community engagement programs and it provides contemporary glass for sale. Operating since 25 May 2007, the Canberra Glassworks was established as a special initiative of the ACT Government through artsACT. It is a tourist attraction and more than 50,000 people visit each year to see and engage with artists working throughout the building. It is housed in the historic Kingston Power House in the developing and visionary Kingston Arts Precinct.
Canberra Glassworks is professionally governed by a Board of Directors chaired by Michael Snare. General Manager Beverly Growden is a trained arts manager with more than 20 years of experience in the Australian arts scene. Jane Cush, Program Director, heads up the artistic team. She trained at the ANU School of Art and is an experienced curator and arts manager Canberra Glassworks employs 25 staff members (3 full-time) and they work amongst a network of glass artists who regularly use the facility as hirers, gaffers, technical assistants, studio artists, education guides or artists in residence.
Canberra Glassworks’ quality exhibition program profiles leading artists working primarily in glass from across Australia. It showcases contemporary glass and explores contemporary art concepts. Exhibitions are presented in two heritage gallery spaces, the foyer and throughout the building. They are primarily curated by the Program Director and guest curators are often engaged. Exhibition work is available for sale and the exhibition experience is extended by opening nights, artist talks, studio tours, special events and school holiday workshops.
The Canberra Glassworks Artist Access program encourages artists to hire the facility and a range of initiatives are provided such as discounted passes and a mentorship program for emerging artists. Studio and locker spaces are available for hire along with shared artist accommodation. Regular Professional Workshop programs aim to develop the skills and experience of the hiring artists beyond their tertiary or community training. It has a range of artist in residence programs for artists who have achieved significant recognition for their technical and artistic work, emerging and mid-career Australian glass artists and new graduates.
Canberra Glassworks provides artist employment opportunities through its Community Engagement and Education programs which include Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) Adult Short Courses, Window on Learning school programs, school holiday workshops and classes on demand. Tours and ‘Make Your Own’ experiences with professional artists are offered. Canberra Glassworks has spaces available for venue hire and a range of high quality contemporary glass art can be purchased or commissioned through the shop. Canberra Glassworks provides a café tenancy to Brodburger.