AS SARASOTA GLASS WEEKEND 2018 ROLLS AROUND this Jan. 25, collectors and studio glass enthusiasts look forward to a multifaceted tour of the best the region has to offer. Returning this year, the annual exhibition of the Richard and Barbara Basch collection in the Basch Gallery, as well as artist talks in the neighboring Thompson Academic Center and glass demonstrations at the newly opened Basch Visual Arts Center, make the Ringling College of Art and Design campus a major hub once again. Alfstad& Contemporary brings the Rosemary District into the mix with an installation from glass artist Laura Donefer and a presentation by fellow artists Charlotte Schmitz and Deborah Haber, entitled Shine The Light. But this year also sees new venues on the list, including a pop-up gallery at a renovated hotel off North Tamiami Trail with two exhibitions curated by Habatat Galleries—10Trends, a presentation speculating on the future of glass, and Currents, a showcase of new work from 30 international artists—as well as the yearly international glass auction.

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Marking a permanent addition to the Sarasota studio glass landscape, the weekend celebration commences with the unveiling of the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion at The Ringling Museum. Built to showcase the museum’s growing studio glass collection (and serve as the new entrance to the Historic Asolo Theatre), the 5,500-square-foot addition presents a dynamic gallery space with both vaulted ceilings and a wraparound mezzanine level. “You get a really nice juxtaposition of the big open space and a more intimate space where you can experience the art,” says Ringling Museum Executive Director Steven High. With wall casings to install individual pieces, pedestals for presentation within the space, video installation, glass demonstration capabilities and future plans to suspend installations from the ceiling, the future seems boundless. Although the first exhibition will pay homage to the pavilion’s patrons by showcasing selections from the donated Kotler and Coville collections, future shows leave the door open for presentations as daring as the pavilion itself—a virtually all-glass construction by Lewis + Whitlock, equipped with adjustable fins to direct and control glaring sunlight. “I’m really wanting to demonstrate that experimental edge of contemporary glass,” says High. And as the new entrance to the Historic Asolo Theatre, the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion, and all it contains, will always be free and open to the public. A bit farther out of town, up in St. Pete, the weekend also marks the opening of the Imagine Museum, dedicated to studio glass and home to Deputy Director Jane Buckman, former director of the Ringling College Longboat Key Center for the Arts.

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