Restoring Accessibility to the Edward Drummond Libbey House
This year, in collaboration with The Ability Center of Greater Toledo, and an Ohio History Fund Grant from the Ohio History Connection, and your generous support, we were able to make Toledo’s only National Historic Landmark accessible to all as we constructed an exterior ramp on the house and an ADA compliant restroom on the first floor.
The American Studio Glass Movement: Toledo’s Creative Legacy
Toledo earned the nickname “The Glass City” because it is the home of four glass corporations that sell their industrial products around the world. But Toledo is also where a major artistic movement began, based on the production of art glass, in small glass studios.
The Libbey House Foundation, in collaboration with Bowling Green State University and its Department of History and School of Art, hosted a symposium exploring Toledo’s role in what became known as the American Studio Glass Movement. The day-long symposium held on November 2, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Libbey House featured historians, curators, artists, and collectors who discussed not only the history of the founding of the movement in a garage on the grounds of the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962, but also the legacy of that movement.
The American Studio Glass Movement began when Toledo Museum of Art director Otto Wittmann invited ceramics artist Harvey Littleton to present an experimental workshop on glassblowing at the museum. While initially Littleton struggled to make his small glass furnace work, his friend and glass researcher Dominick Labino provided the technical expertise to overcome the early problems. Seven people attended the first glassblowing workshop. By 1969, the museum built a Glass Crafts Building to handle the number of artists who wanted to participate in the creation of glass art. Littleton and Labino’s techniques led to what is an international movement today led by artists like Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra.
In addition to Kaysie Harrington’s BGSU MA thesis, “The American Studio Glass Movement: A Regional Study of its Birth in Northwest Ohio” (December, 2018), who presented her research, the event included remarks by Barbara Floyd, author of The Glass City: Toledo and the Industry That Built It; Diane Wright, curator of glass at the Toledo Museum of Art; glass artists Jack Schmidt, Baker O’Brien, Shawn Messenger, and Adam Goldberg; and glass collectors Lee and Milt Hakel, Gail Zimmerman, and Jim Moore.
Marc Folk, executive director of the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, wrapped up the symposium by leading an audience discussion of the impact of the movement on the city and its possible role in the future development of Toledo.