FIRED UP! was launched in the Fall of 2004 as a tuition-free, after- school program for Benton Harbor teens and holds the distinction of being the third oldest youth glass program in the country. The inspiration for FIRED UP! came from American Glass Master Dale Chihuly’s Hilltop Project for youth in Tacoma Washington. FIRED UP! is open to students ages 12-18 and requires a two-year commitment. Teen students work in one of three studios: glassblowing, glass beadmaking/jewelry design, and fused glass. Students meet once a week and are taught by highly qualified instructors.
Fired Up! artists participate in a series of in-house and regional exhibitions. The Year culminates in a professional marketing experience at the Krasl Art Fair in neighboring St. Joseph, ranked in the top 10 art fairs in the nation. Fired Up! teens exhibit their work in their own booth and receive job skills training and proudly serve as cultural ambassadors for the community .
Teen artists also participate in area juried art shows and an annual field trip to experience other glass facilities and museums. Teens develop their marketing skills by writing professional artists’ statements, titling, inventorying, pricing and selling their work. These advanced requirements are geared to an early college level and set the program apart from the usual ‘make & take’ art-making experiences.
In addition to their individual work, each studio is collectively responsible for designing and producing a production item to be sold alongside their work at the Krasl Art Fair. Artists receive 70% from sales of their individual work and 30% goes for their material costs. 100% of their sales of production work is reinvested into the program. The teens are very proud of this “pay it forward” aspect of the program and set a goal of seating one new student in the program annually.
Hear from Eli Zilke, WSG Studio Manager and Fired Up! Alumn
WATER STREET GLASSWORKS
140 Water Street, Benton Harbor MI
(Located in the Benton Harbor Arts District)
WINTER GALLERY & OFFICE HOURS
Wednesday - Friday ~ 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday ~ 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed Monday & Tuesday
Where Fire and Creativity Meet
" 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