I enjoyed reading your article “Let There Be Light” (Fall Arts Preview, Cover Story, Sept. 19). As a glass artist, I love seeing all the excitement mounting in our city about the upcoming Virginia Museum of Fine Arts installation of Dale Chihuly’s work, and other glass shows around town. However, you omitted one very important exhibition. A retrospective of the work of Harvey Littleton will open at the Visual Arts Center Gallery on Nov. 9 and run through mid-January.
Littleton is considered the father of the American studio glass movement. He is the reason for this being the year to focus on glass, to celebrate 50 years of studio glass in the United States. He built a furnace and staged the very first nonfactory glass-blowing event at the Toledo Museum 50 years ago, then taught glass blowing at the University of Wisconsin. Chihuly was a student in one of those classes.
In fact, all the first glass programs established in universities across the country were started by Littleton’s students, including our own program at Virginia Commonwealth University, begun by Kent Ipsen. I received my masters degree in fine arts under Kent in 1981, then went on to teach with him at VCU for many more years. There will be a show of Kent’s work at the Charles Taylor Art Center in Hampton in December as well. It is a very special event that Richmond will be host to a retrospective of Littleton’s work, and it is important that your readers know about this show and its historical significance.