Reheating a piece in the glory hole



Water Street Glassworks is a big city idea in your home town. We are here to satisfy your glass curiosity - classes, exhibitions and family fun." - Jerry Catania, Founder


Building exterior

School, Studio, & Gallery Dedicated to

the Glass & Metal Fire Arts 

Water Street Glassworks(WSG) is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) school and public access studio, located in the Benton Harbor Arts District. WSG offers classes in the glass and metal arts, exhibitions and events for all ages. Following nine years of building renovations and studio equipment construction combined, WSG opened its doors to the public in January 2004 and is an established educational anchor in the Benton Harbor Arts District. 



The mission of Water Street Glassworks is to provide a regional school, studio, and gallery dedicated to the medium of glass, offering educational opportunities, studio access, and special events. We create partnerships with other educational entities so that we can foster community renewal; renewal that stems from collaborating with other community arts programs.


History of Water Street Glassworks 

Water Street Glassworks’ is the product of founders, Jerry and Kathy Catania’s vision to create a glass arts school in the heart of Benton Harbor. The WSG project has taken on the multi-faceted approach of building restoration, arts education, and community and economic development. It has worked collaboratively with other arts institutions including Krasl Art Center, and businesses to significantly contribute to the creation of the city’s arts and historic district. In its 13 years of operation, through events, exhibitions, classes, and public demonstrations it has engaged thousands of residents and visitors in arts education experiences. (read more)


Jerry Catania Founder WSGI began working in glass as a part of the experimental beginnings of the now famous Pilchuck glass school. In the summer of 1972 I was accepted to be one of 30 students to work and study glass under the direction of Dale Chihuly and Fritz Dreisbach. The following year I returned home to Southwest Michigan and constructed my own private glass studio called Fiasco Glass, located in Stevensville. The word "fiasco" refers to the Italian, straw-wrapped wine bottles as well as the glass "seconds" sold in the streets. In 1990 I moved my studio 35 miles north of its original location to Glenn, Michigan, where I worked in a 19th-century barn studio and with my wife Kathy, turned the 1860’s farm house into Vesuvius Art Gallery. (read more)


Classes in the Fire Arts 

Explore the “Fire Arts” of glass & metal! Our qualified instructors will guide you through the exciting learning process of working in the fire arts. Learn to blow or cast molten glass, weld and hammer metal, form glass beads over a torch or create a colorful expression of yourself in our fusing, and mosaic studios. Select from a variety of classes or schedule a private experience for your group. All studios are open year round. The glassblowing studio takes a summer hiatus. Experience a fiery new side of yourself at Water Street Glassworks! Learn More


Fired Up! Teen After School Program

Fired Up! is an award-winning teen after-school program that combines art-making with entrepreneurship.

This in-depth program provides scholarships to teens each year and requires a two-year commitment. Students work from mid-September through mid-July in one of three different studios: glassblowing, kiln-fired glass and flame-working. Learn More


The Dorris Akers Gallery

The Dorris Akers Gallery is located in the Historic Hinkley Building. We are proud to represent talented artists, instructors, and staff who create their work in the Water Street Glassworks studios. The gallery features the "fire arts" including blown glass, fused glass, enamel and lampwork jewelry, and metal sculptures. The gallery is curated for the seasons and there is always something fresh and new. Sales from our gallery help keep the fires burning and a portion of your purchase goes towards Water Street Glassworks programming. Visit the Gallery

WSG Glassblowing team, 2018