The educational value of connecting works of art in the Flint Institute of Arts’ galleries to the hands-on studio experience has always been an essential part of the FIA’s mission. Since its founding in the 1800s, Flint has been known as a “maker” town, first for carriages and later for automobiles.
For more than 90 years, the FIA has been a part of that tradition by fusing the experiences of object-making and art appreciation with an Art School and Museum. Over the years, we have continued to expand the Art School and Museum to provide lifelong learning opportunities that are a natural extension of the interests, skills, and abilities of our community.
With the addition of the Contemporary Craft Wing, as well as a glassmaking space in the Art School, the FIA has built upon its long history of teaching fine and applied arts. By combining a glassmaking program with an already successful ceramics program, visitors and students can explore the parallel stories and similar approaches that exist between glass and clay.
It’s been our experience that when people witness the process of something being made live and then see a finished product of a similar artistic expression in the galleries, they find the answer to the frequently asked question: “How did they do that?”
A recent addition of an 11,000 square foot gallery on the east side of the Institute serves as the home for the FIA’s permanent collection of contemporary craft objects, the Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger collection of contemporary ceramics, and the Isabel Foundation’s loan of contemporary glass.
The FIA’s Art School also added a hot shop, with stadium-style seating, allowing visitors to watch artists demonstrate various glassmaking processes, a smaller flame-working studio designed to equip students with bench top torches for making three-dimensional sculptures in glass as well as beadwork, and a third studio created for students to make molds for glass, bronze, or clay casting.
I hope you will plan to come see for yourself. I promise that you will be astonished.
To learn more about the FIA, programming, and the Art School visit flintarts.org or call 810-234-1695.
The FIA is open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. Admission is free for all Genesee County residents through the Genesee County Arts Education and Cultural Enrichment Millage. Free Glass-blowing Demonstrations are held every Saturday and Sunday on the hour thanks to McLaren Healthcare.