A playful exhibit from non-profit “hot shop” GlassRoots, Inc., currently on display at Kean’s Nancy Dryfoos Gallery, conjures up nostalgic images of childhood and American popular culture. From B-Boys to Pac Man, the exhibit’s references are broad. These disparate touch points weave together a crazy quilt of contemporary Americana as seen through the eyes of Newark based artists and students.
Each work in the exhibit is hand-crafted. These unique glass works were formed over open flames, in kilns and in gloryholes. To create some pieces, the artists had to work within inches of bright blue flames while others labored in spaces where the average temperature exceeds 110 degrees. Some of the show’s most arresting pieces were created by students with no prior knowledge of glass making. Their works are displayed alongside art created by highly trained professionals.
The intimate environs of the Nancy Dryfoos Gallery are an ideal showcase for a show offering voyeuristic glimpses of American youth. “Now Go Play Outside” is whimsical, spirited and exuberant. Unexpected wonders, like a lifelike glass jump rope, elicited smiles of pure delight.
The mission of GlassRoots is to provide opportunities for at-risk youth to realize their potential through the creation of glass art. GlassRoots provides a nurturing environment through which otherwise underserved children can achieve self-esteem and creative expression while also learning business skills and valuable life lessons.
“Now Go Play Outside” will be at the Nancy Dryfoos Gallery through June 21.