Down by $5,000 over last year’s auction results, the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s annual gala fund raising event still brought in a very respectable $110,000 on Friday, October 15th. Held again at the American Eagle Outfitters headquarters, the event was titled “Art on Fire 10 Celebration & Auction” in honor of the glass nonprofit’s 10th anniversary. A crowd of 400 art collectors, artists, and area philanthropists joined event chair and independent curator Sarah Nichols (formerly the curator of decorative arts at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art) for an evening filled with art and martinis. Four artists — Robert Mickelsen, Richard Jolley, Susan Taylor Glasgow and Jon Kuhn — served as honorary chairs, each one representing one of the four techniques of glass available at Pittsburgh Glass Center.
The live auction included 23 works of glass art, which bidders vied for in person, by telephone, or online. The highest totals were realized for work by Davide Salvadore ($8,700), Jon Kuhn ($6,400), Ed Kachurik ($6,200), and Richard Jolley ($6,000). Adding in the substantial number of works donated to the silent auctions, a total of 100 pieces were bid on to support the programs and operations of Pittsburgh’s only glass center.
Adding glamour and publicity to the event, the gala was also the setting for the final judging of a martini glass design competition, which was sponsored by Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka and “Pittsburgh Magazine.” From a pool of 50 entries since the contest was announced in May, the winning entry was announced by Rick Sebak, a Pittsburgh film director and producer for WQED. First place went to Leah Vigneau’s “Spikeitini” glass which was created at PGC by Bob Greer. Second place was “SUROX (Straight Up on the Rocks) Glass” designed by Shirley Underwood of Manassas, Virginia. and created at PGC by Arthur Guilford, Chris Hofmann and Travis Rohrbaugh. Third place was Tom Kubilius’s “Volcano” glass, realized at PGC by Arthur Guilford, Chris Hofmann and Travis Rohrbaugh.
“The winner (Spiketini) is a fantastic example of creative glass making. The idea is something akin to the buttons on the sleeve of King George’s red coats, whose designer put them there so no one would wipe his nose,” said Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka co-founder Prentiss Orr in a press release. “Although one is always supposed to hold the stem of a glass, you can’t help but hold the stem of this glass —because it’s all stems! The idea makes a lot sense. Yet it’s really different. And from our testing, it kept a cold martini cold,”
Click here to see the top three martini glass designs.
See a couple photos from the event at the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette website.