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Five JU glass artists at the Cummer

Cummer hosts glass show with works from Jacksonville University artists

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is highlighting five glass artists with strong Jacksonville University ties in “Glass Here,” an exhibit in the new Pop Up Art Shop inside Cummer’s Bank of America Concourse.

The show is the second in the spotlight gallery and is designed as a companion to the exhibition “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures From the Driehaus Collection.”

“The Spotlight Gallery pieces are relevant to the exhibit in the Main Gallery, but are different by design,” says Brian Frus ‘01, Jacksonville University Associate Professor of Glass, who helped curate the exhibit and has four pieces in the show. “We took ‘material’ as a connecting theme, then chose pieces connected to the natural world for concepts referencing things Tiffany looked at.”

In addition to Professor Frus, the show also contains pieces by Maria Beaty, Clint Burbridge, Jono Lukas, and Bryan Beck. Four of the artists are Jacksonville University alumni, and Burbridge has taken a number of classes in the glass studio without working toward a degree.

Cummer Director Adam Levine originally developed the idea to work in tandem with the museum’s main ongoing exhibit, according to Susan Tudor, Cummer Manager of Visitors’ Services and Store Buyer.

“His vision is to connect regional and local artists with our visitors,” Ms. Tudor says. “We have a wealth of artists in this community. With the Driehaus Collection coming and our connections with JU, Adam knew just where to go.”

Although each of the showcased artists are at different stages of their careers with different inspirations and aesthetics, their pieces coalesce around the overall theme, Frus says. From Ms. Beaty, who graduated in 2019, to Frus himself, who took a recreational glass-blowing glass at the University when he was in high school that inspired him to pursue his artistic passion, the artists’ pieces represent an eclectic mix of modern, geometric inspired designs to others inspired by the natural world, including plants, animals, and seeds.

“The seed is a precious object that contains the potential for new life, and I’m interested in it as a recurring theme,” Professor Frus says.  “In nature, the seed casing has evolved into a huge variety of interesting forms.  I want to capture the spirit of a seed and revealing the precious life at its core within elegant protective shells of glass. I have a unique emotional response to that.”

Mr. Levine reviewed many pieces for the exhibit before deciding on the nine that comprise the show, which is also designed to encourage Museum patrons to support local artists. All pieces in the show, which is going on now, are available for sale. Ms. Tudor says at least one piece has already generated serious interest from a patron.

“(Mr. Levine) said at the show’s opening that the way to get better at anything is through practice,” says Ms. Tudor. “If we can sell art for these artists, they will have more time to practice and get even better.”

The show is currently running and will continue through at least Jan 5, 2020. The Museum is open weekly from Tuesday through Sunday. College students receive free admission from Tuesday to Friday.