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March 20, 2023

50 sparkling years

Glass program inspires passion, innovation, community and teamwork

By Karen Sandstrom

Call it kismet or even a series of fortunate events, but the origin story of Cleveland Institute of Art’s Glass program practically glistens with a sense of the inevitable.

It was 1971, and artist Dale Chihuly had just co-founded the Pilchuk Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. To gin up business, he invited members of the Union of Independent Colleges of Art to send two students to Pilchuk for a summer workshop.

Joseph Zeller was chair of CIA’s Ceramics program at the time. CIA had no Glass department then, but Zeller did have two ambitious and energetic...

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