Plan your visit: Some galleries may be closed in preparation for our upcoming summer exhibitions. Read more.

Past Event

The Seattle Glass Story

Though glass has ancient traditions in Europe, it’s a relatively young art form in the United States. Just over 50 years ago, factory facilities were producing glass works, but the idea of “glass art” didn’t exist. In 1962, the first glass program in America brought the idea of studio glass to fruition, marking a fundamental shift in glassblowing in America. The Studio Glass movement put greater emphasis on the artist as designer and maker and encouraged the creation of one-of-a-kind objects.

Since those beginnings, interest and experimentation with glass art has flourished, particularly in thePacific Northwest. In fact, a study led by the Glass Art Society found the Pacific Northwest is the leading regional hub for glass art in the United States. More than 700 glass artists, from emerging artists to master glassmakers, live in Washington. Pilchuck Glass School, an internationally renowned center for glass art education, has flourished in the Puget Sound for more than 50 years. More than 100 glass art studios made their home in our region.

Are you curious to know why the Pacific Northwest is the center?

Chihuly Garden and Glass and Visit Seattle set out to answer that question by creating “Refract: TheSeattle Glass Experience,” which makes a triumphant return October 13-16, 2022. Join us as the region’s luminaries of glass art come out to shine with special events, epic exhibitions, studio tours, intriguing demos, and opportunities to meet the artists themselves.

BIMA will celebrate the work of Ginny Ruffner’s prolific career with the retrospective exhibition What IfThe exhibition features the debut of Project Aurora, a two-story light show inspired by the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), and the Unperiodic Table, a tapestry enhanced through holographic images. Experience her prolific forty-year career through lampworked and painted glass sculptures, paintings, installations, public art projects, metal and glass sculptures, cast glass, and works activated through augmented reality.

Through all the change that came with the past two years, the incredible talent and resilience of our arts community has remained constant. Now is the time to step out in support and celebration as we shine the spotlight on the incredible artists who contribute so much to the Pacific Northwest’s glass community. We hope to see you there.


Oct 14 – Oct 16, 2022