FLINT, MI – Marking their 90th year in operation, the Flint Institute of Arts cut the ribbon on a brand new Contemporary Crafts Wing and state of the art glass studio, hot shop, and demonstration space on Apr. 21, 2018.

Three new galleries in the Contemporary Crafts Wing feature highlights of the Sherwin and Shirley Glass Collection, which contains a total of 142 contemporary glass works. Each of the galleries features recessed skylights and custom lighting that the Flint Institute of Arts says will enrich the glass displays.

“With this new expansion, the FIA brings the world of contemporary glass to Flint, Michigan. Through 120 works by 88 artists representing 16 countries, visitors will be amazed at the diversity of expression and wide variety of objects on view,” said Tracee Glab, curator of collections and exhibitions at the Flint Institute of Arts. “In the glass medium, the creative possibilities are seemingly limitless, with some works being realistic and lifelike, others abstract, and still more fantastical and surreal. The sizes vary too, with objects that can fit into the palm of your hand to some that are monumental. These works are meant to provoke awe among visitors of all backgrounds, as well as delight and inspire.”

The Flint Institute of Arts cuts a ribbon made of glass on Apr. 21, 2018 to mark the grand opening of a brand new Contemporary Crafts Wing and expanded art school facilities. (Andrew Roth | Flint Beat)

On the other side of the building, a 3,900 sq. ft. addition to the museum’s art school promises to allow teens and adults to participate in new glass-related classes. Improvements include a new hot shop, cold shop, flameworking studio, sculpture studio, and demonstration space with retractable stadium seating.

“The addition of the new Contemporary Craft Wing and the Art School glass arena, which create a visceral connection between works in the collection and the hands-on studio experience, adds to our goal of being a visitor- and family-friendly destination, where everyone learns while having fun,” said John Henry, the Flint Institute of Arts’ executive director.

The project was funded through an ongoing $14 million capital and endowment campaign, of which the Flint Institute of Arts has raised $11 million, including an $8.5 million grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Several state and local dignitaries attended the ribbon cutting ceremony, including U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, and former Flint mayor Dayne Walling, among others.

Free admission to the museum and public hot shop demonstrations will be offered on Apr. 22 as a continuation of the grand opening community weekend.

The Flint Institute of Arts is the second largest art museum in the state of Michigan and the fifth largest museum art school in the United States. Admission to the museum costs $10 Sunday through Friday and is free every Saturday.

Andrew Roth is a reporter and photographer covering politics and policy in Michigan, as well technology, culture and their convergence. Andrew is a journalism student at Michigan State University and first...