Press Release

Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Glass Art Society to Share Results of Landscape of Glass Art in America Study at the 2016 Sculpture Objects and Functional Art fair in Chicago

Study data, including learnings that 74 percent of the public have an interest in glass art, will be explored in a special exhibition space and panel discussion

Seattle – Seattle-based Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Glass Art Society will share the findings of their national study – The Landscape of Glass Art in America: A Benchmark for the Future – at the Sculpture Objects and Functional Art (SOFA) fair in Chicago November 3-6, 2016. The research project, which began in November 2015, measured the general public’s interest in glass art, explored activity within different regions across the country, and maps current trends. Findings will serve as a benchmark for future measurement, growth and experimentation in the industry. In addition to a panel discussion at SOFA, an exhibition of the study will also be presented, blending stats and artwork.

Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Glass Art Society worked with Bellevue, Wash. based GMA Research to conduct the study. The project was broken into three phases which included qualitative research, influencer interviews and, finally, two quantitative surveys. With more than 2,000 participants, survey results depict opinions and attitudes representative of the United States population.

“We are excited to take this step in benchmarking public awareness, interest and trends related to the business of glass,” said Michelle Bufano, executive director, Chihuly Garden and Glass. “There is tremendous value in seeing true data around where our industry stands so we can collectively, as a community, drive education and engagement with the general public.” 


Key findings include: 

  • More than 70 percent of the public have an interest in glass. 
  • Of that group, 29 percent have visited a gallery in the past 24 months and 24 percent have visited a museum that presents glass. Additionally, 23 percent have connected with social media or conducted online research related to glass. 
  • An indicator for future growth, those whose interest has grown the most span 18-34 years old. 
  • In the glass industry, flameworking, a diversification of artists and usage of mixed media rose to the surface as key trends driving the industry. 

While the survey data shows that public perception is increasing or remaining the same, there is an interesting conflict in the response from the glass art community. Only 50 percent believe the industry is growing. Those most optimistic about the future are young artists, those with 1-5 years of experience.

“We receive calls daily from people looking for just this kind of current, hard social trend data relating to the glass community,” said Pamela Koss, executive director, Glass Art Society. “We believe this study, and what it sets up for the future, greatly supports our mission of advancing education around, and promoting the appreciation of, the glass arts.”

Regional hubs for glass are also evolving. While the Northwest and Northeast are still considered the top geographical hubs for glass art, census data shows that the community is diversifying. With more practicing artists, schools, hot shops and galleries emerging the Midwest and Southeast regions are growing and expanding their reach and impact.  

Fundamental shifts in perspective were also identified. Many artists are no longer categorizing themselves by the medium. In the past someone who may have been considered a “studio glass” artist may now identify as an “artist working in glass.” The medium is now taking a backseat to the artist’s idea and the result is a more mainstream acceptance of glass artwork. 

To check out additional detail regarding The Landscape of Glass Art in America: A Benchmark for the Future visit

For Information, contact:

Erika Enomoto, 206-382-1305 

April Matson, 206-753-4924