Murano Midwest: An Art Glass Space Unlike Any Other

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Murano Midwest is an innovative gallery and store located in the heart of Oak Park with a unique focus on presenting amazing blown glass artworks. By bringing together artists from the famed Murano island of Venice Italy and their American counterparts, Murano Midwest stands alone as a premier destination for a curated collection of art glass, glass giftware and jewelry.

Murano Midwest specializes in hot blown glass art. Many are familiar with the spotlight Dale Chihuly put on contemporary blown art glass. Gallery manager Janet Burson remarks that the art glass world has grown by leaps and bounds since Chihuly went to Murano to learn from and with Murano.

Today, Italian artists continue to push the envelope, moving beyond their roots in factory glass workshops to create impressive contemporary pieces. American artists, who came later to the glass blowing tradition, are truly coming into their own and re-invigorating the art form. Murano Midwest's curated space features the work of many leading and emerging glass artists working today.

Maestro Afro Celotto worked with Chihuly in those early days, along with Pino Signoretto and the legendary Lino Tagliapietra. He is an amazing Italian glass artist who seemingly paints in glass. His brilliant palette inspired by colorful homes on his childhood in Burano Island near Venice.

Midwestern artist Ben Tullman, creative director of Chicago's Ignite Glass Studio, first encountered glass blowing as an adolescent suffering from depression and learned about making glass beads as a form of therapy. Today, his glass blowing skills rival those of the Murano masters.

Inspired by Ben's successful recovery and passion for glass blowing, his parents, Trish and Glenn Tullman, also founded Ignition Community Glass, a non-profit organization offering free programs in glass blowing for at-risk youth in the Chicago area.  Murano Midwest helps by selling the beautiful inexpensive giftware made by these students.

American Alexis Silk stands midway between Murano and Chicago. She received her BFA at the School of the Art Institute but now lives in Italy. Alexis, the only "Maestra" (woman master glassblower) on Murano, is known for sculpting conceptual art based on striking large scale nude figures. Commanding a team of up to six assistants to handle the immense figures, Alexis sculpts the massive forms free-hand in molten glass.

As just a few of the artists whose work is available at Murano Midwest, Burson says this trio provides a sampling of the way the space brings together the traditions of Italy with the innovations of the American artists.

Murano Midwest holds cocktail receptions on Thursday and Friday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m., and the events are the perfect introduction to the glass blown art works. Through January 28, 2018, Murano Midwest will be showcasing Contemporary Movements in Murano Glass.

Located in the heart of Oak Park at 701 Lake Street, Murano Midwest is open on Thursday thru Sunday and also by appointment. For more information visit www.muranomidwest.com or call 312.755.0000.

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