National Art Glass Collection
Left to Right: Emma Varga, Red red sky burning #1, 2004, cast and fused glass
Sergio Redegalli, Untitled, cut clear glass, laminated, sandstone
Wagga Wagga Art Gallery has been collecting studio glass since 1979. In 1992, the glass collection was formally named the National Art Glass Collection, to recognise and celebrate its national significance.
The hard work that allowed the collection to develop into its present form was provided by former director of the Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery, Judy Le Lievre, who held the position from 1979 to 1996. The decision to collect glass was made by Judy in response to the Australia Council's request (the Federal funding and arts advisory body), that regional galleries select a specialist area of collecting, to minimise duplication and competition.
Judy's interest in glass was further supported by the glass course at Charles Sturt University - Riverina Campus, which was among the first schools in Australia to teach studio glass. The course was established by John Elsegood and operated between 1972-83.
Matthew Curtis, Amber constructed bowl, 2007, blown and constructed sheet glass, bonded, stainless steel rim
The National Student Art Glass Prize (NSAGP) is Wagga Wagga Art Gallery's major initiative for 2010, designed to promote and support emerging glass artists and to strengthen relationships with the universities offering art glass within their curriculum; these include - Australian National University ACT, University of Sydney NSW, Monash University VIC, University of South Australia, Curtin University WA and Edith Cowan University WA. As an acquisitive competition, the NSAGP also helps grow the National Art Glass Collection, and several works created by some of the most exciting new glass artists in the country were acquired from the inaugural exhibition.
Inaugural launch of the National Student Art Glass Prize, March 2010 at the National Art Glass Gallery
The Studio Glass Movement in Australia
The Australian studio glass movement began in the early 1970s, following the American movement by a decade. The collection includes work by visiting artists in the early years that were invited to stimulate glass practice, as well as artists-in-residence from overseas.
Size and Sources of the Glass Collection
The Collection is the largest national public collection of Australian 'studio' glass and has currently approximately 500 works.
It has been built up and continues to grow with assistance from:
- Wagga Wagga City Council
- The National Student Art Glass Prize
- The Federal Government through the Australia Council
- The State Government through Arts NSW
- Philanthropy (Private Donation)
- Donations from Friends of the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery
- The Gallery's Glass Biennials and Triennials between 1979 and 1994 were an excellent mechanism for bringing quality works to Wagga Wagga and many additions to the collection came from these exhibitions.
Robert Murray, Coolamons 2008, painted and kiln-formed glass, perspex
Purchase funded by Wagga Wagga City Council, 2008
The Kerfoot Collection of Australian studio glass was begun in the late 1970's, and has gradually expanded to over 150 works, with many of Australia's leading glass artists represented by well chosen pieces. In 2009, forty-five exceptional pieces were donated by Joyce Kerfoot to the National Art Glass Collection, with the assistance of the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program. Many of these pieces are by artists not previously represented in the Collection; other pieces complement works already in the Collection by illuminating different periods or styles in their creators' artistic careers.
Richard Whitele,y Easter, 1988, mosaic glass, pate de verre, fused, slumped and assembled
Donated by Joyce Kerfoot though the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Scheme, 2009
The Gibb Paperweight Collection forms one of the most important components of Wagga Wagga Art Gallery's National Art Glass Collection. Donated in 1997, the Paperweight Collection comprises sixty items from artists and firms specialing in the artform around the world, brought together over many years by Professor Cecil Austin Gibb and Mrs Margaret Gibb.