FLINT — As the unveiling of its new spaces nears, the Flint Institute of Arts is red hot with anticipation. The FIA Community Weekend begins on April 21, at 10:30 a.m. and continues through April 22.
With major funding for the construction of the Contemporary Craft Wing and the multi-purpose, state-of-theart glass arena provided by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the FIA broke ground on its expansion in 2016. The addition of more than 20,000-squarefeet of new gallery and education space is expected to draw both visitors and artists from around the world to the Mid- Michigan museum, which now houses the fourth largest museum-connected art school in the United States.
Located in the FIA Art School, the 3,620-square-foot glass arena offers technologically advanced systems for glass, ceramics, and metal working. Free demonstrations will be given in the arena’s Hot Shop every Saturday, starting April 21, thanks to McLaren Health Care. Saturday gallery admission is also free to all visitors through the continued support of Huntington Bank.
FIA Executive Director John Henry observed, “It has been our experience that when people experience something being made live and then see a similar finished object in the galleries, they find the answer to the frequently asked question, ‘How did they do that?'”
The 11,000-square-foot Contemporary Craft Wing houses a variety of craft forms, most notably works in ceramics and glass. The Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, as well as the Sherwin and Shirley Glass Collection of Contemporary Glass, on long-term loan from the Isabel Foundation, will anchor the new wing and connect visitors to the live demonstrations viewed in the glass arena.
The media and the public are invited to celebrate the museum’s grand opening on April 21 at 10:30 a.m., when the FIA’s Community Weekend begins with a once-in-a-lifetime glass ribbon cutting that serves as a teaser for the weekend’s activities. The FIA Community Weekend runs April 21-22, with admission free on both days. For more information and a schedule of events, please visit flintarts.org, the FIA Facebook page, or call 810-234- 1295. — G.G