GLASS National Art Museum celebrates opening

Published 10:50 am Tuesday, November 7, 2023

By Lance Gaither

On Friday the ribbon was cut for the new GLASS National Art Museum. The museum celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Art Center of the Bluegrass and showcases the beauty of and history of blown glass art. The museum has a vast collection of the works of world famous artist and Centre College professor Stephen Rolfe Powell who died in 2019. In addition to featuring the work of Powell, the museum will have rotating exhibits from artists both locally and nationally recognized.

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“Our goal here is to have this be part of Danville’s tourism and make Danville a destination for art,” said Liz Haffner, Art Center of the Bluegrass Director of Development and Communications. “We have Powell’s pieces in several government and public buildings. It is becoming quite the tour for those that love glass. We are really excited for that.”

The GLASS National Art Museum was made possible through a joint effort of Danville, Boyle County, the Art Center of the Bluegrass, and the community which as has supported the project. Donations from an anonymous sponsor have allowed the museum and Art Center to be open to the public free of charge.

“The things we do today matter,” said Danville City Manager Earl Coffey. “25 years ago when this building fell into city hands, no one knew at the time we would be standing here doing this. For Such a historic building to be fully renovated is certainly a worth investment and thing for the public. As we talk about the future of Danville and downtown I appreciate the folks in the community that put us in the room today. The input we receive from you all guides us a leads us to where we are today.”

Powell graduated from Centre College in 1974. He found a passion for blown glass art during his graduate studies at Louisiana State University. He was a professor at Centre College from 1983 until he died in 2019. He was the founder of Centre’s glass program.

The opening of the GLASS National Art Museum is just one part a multi-million dollar expansion of the Art Center of the Bluegrass. Expansions include extensive renovations into the building next to the GLASS Museum which become the new home for the Art Center of the Bluegrass. The renovations will include a community art studio, a children’s center, and an event ballroom. Further improvements are a new crafts gift shop and cafe.

The GLASS National Arr Museum is located at 401 W. Main St. in Danville. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.