This Saturday is First City Arts Center’s Ninth Annual Glass Pumpkin patch. The Arts center houses a glass blowing and pottery studio in the Longhollow Neighborhood where we recently went for a visit.
Meredith Doyen, the director at the First City Arts Center, spoke to me about the Glass Pumpkin Patch fundraiser for First City which kicks off tonight and concludes Saturday.
“This is our ninth annual pumpkin patch, it’s the biggest fundraiser of the year for us. We put out 2,400 pumpkins.”
The pumpkin patch was a natural outgrowth because glassblowing has been a part of First City Arts from their early history as the Belmont Arts & Cultural Center. There were students melting chunks of glass in super hot furnaces in the studio and I spoke to their instructor, John Shoemaker, the glass arts fellow at First City Arts Center.
I asked John how far away these particular students might be from making some of the beautiful pumpkins on display next door.
“To make a really nice pumpkin takes a lot of practice, but to make just a simple one, some of them have only been working with glass for a few months. To make the really nice ones, some of them have been blowing glass for five or six years.”
Getting to watch the glassblowers at work is part of the mission of First City to be a working studio that is open to the public, again, here’s Meredith Doyen.
“Everything we do during the week is free here, it’s a gallery you can always come to, you can always stop in: we call it a working arts center. We’re trying to create a place where people can come and watch art, see stuff being made, and also participate.”
First City Arts Center offers classes in pottery, glass blowing, glass flamework, stained glass, drawing, painting, metal, as well as renting studio space to local artists.
They are already starting to set up the pumpkin patch and it’s an incredible display of glass sculpture: all different sizes, shapes, and colors. Meredith described what to expect.
“Everything’s out and it’s all like sparkling in the sun Saturday, there’s kind of a fun frenzy about it, it’s just that one time of year.”
That one time of year is this Saturday at First City Arts Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for more information go to firstcityart.org.