Woman standing next to large glass art piece with other glass art works in background

Arts & Culture

Refresh and renewal for Glass Gallery Collection

Published: 19 Feb 2021 9:58am

Wagga Wagga’s prestigious National Art Glass Collection is in the midst of refresh and renewal, designed to lift its profile and reputation locally, regionally and nationally.

Over the past four decades, almost 700 works have been acquired for the collection through Wagga Wagga City Council’s glass acquisition program supported by the Friends of the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery and external donations.

Wagga Wagga Art Gallery Director Dr Lee-Anne Hall said the collection includes remarkable works from some of Australia’s foremost glass artists alongside works produced by early career artists of exceptional promise.

“We hold Collection shows and tours at our dedicated Gallery in the Civic Centre precinct,” Dr Hall.

“We have tourists who come from all over Australia, particularly from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide, to see these works, as well as visitors from the Riverina and regional NSW.

“It’s a real jewel in terms of what is on offer here in Wagga Wagga.”

Keen to build on that profile and reputation, the Art Gallery has embarked on a refresh and renewal process in terms of the collection’s direction, presentation, the artists it works with and how shows are curated.

The refresh was launched at Artstate Wagga Wagga 2020 with a new exhibition, ‘Forms and Echoes’, new exhibition spatial design, and the addition of a retail area selling local, regional and Australian art glass pieces.

“The aim is to make the collection more relevant and interesting to expand our audience beyond those with a specialist interest in glass to those with a wider interest in contemporary art,” Dr Hall said.

“It is important to show glass as a medium that can be used to discuss and explore contemporary ideas and themes, as well as being of extraordinary beauty and technical expertise.”

Another change underway involves the biennial National Emerging Art Glass Prize which will now become a triennial initiative named Glass Chrysalis in partnership with Glassworks in Canberra and JamFactory in Adelaide.

“The focus will be on showcasing the new generation of glass artists. Being selected for exhibition in Glass Chrysalis will be prestigious and help artists in their career.”

The current exhibition Forms and Echoes is on display at the National Art Glass Gallery until Sunday, 2 May 2021.

Work of glass art which is a globe within globe

In May, the touring show, Abundant Wonder, by South Australian artist Tom Moore, who works in blown glass will be on display.

It will feature glowing creatures and giant building blocks and will appeal to families as well as those interested in glass art.

On exhibition from mid-July will be Steel and Glass curated by Wagga Wagga Art Gallery’s Drew Halyday, featuring pieces from the collection alongside works by sculptor April Glaser-Hinder from Cootamundra.

This will be followed by Windowless Worlds curated by Dr Sam Bowker from Charles Sturt University featuring an installation containing shattered glass fragments and recycled glass from the Port of Beirut explosion that occurred in 2020.

Opening on 30 August 2021, this will coincide with the first anniversary of this tragic event.