The Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a modern art gallery, open to the public and free of charge. It showcases the work of local artists and craftsmen while offering interesting and creative classes. Across the street is the Chihuly Collection, a structure built specifically to display the amazing glass work of American artist, Dale Chihuly. Read a review of the museum here.
Housed behind the Morean Arts Center facility and located in the hip and upcoming Central Arts District of downtown, the Hot Shop is a covered, outdoor art studio dedicated to the unique and exciting art of glass blowing. Live glass blowing demonstrations take place daily and bleachers are available for spectators, as long as a ticket to the Chihuly collection has been purchased.
On New Year’s Eve of 2016, my daughters each participated in the individual glass blowing experience offered at the Hot Shop. The 30 minute experience cost $75 per person. I purchased the tickets and made reservations online several months in advance (and gave it to my girls as a Christmas gift).
Each daughter got 30 minutes of one-on-one attention and instruction from a knowledgeable and patient glass blowing expert. They learned the fundamentals of glass blowing, the history and the process, while receiving step-by-step instructions to create their own pieces of art.
First, participants choose which project to create from a few sample pieces. Individual color choices are made next.
With the help of the professional glass blower, participants heat up the glass and gather colored crystals while swirling the molten glass on the tip of a rod.
Some movements are made tandem-style for safety reasons, but most of the work is completed by participants with clear and concise directions coming from the artist.
Once the colored piece is heated properly, the process of shaping begins with twisting and turning. Forged tools are used for pulling and stretching and additional heat sources (which my youngest daughter loved!) help to keep the glass malleable.
Once the piece is completed, the master glass blower removes it from the rod and places it inside a safe container for cooling. The unusual art pieces are ready for pick up the next day because it takes time to properly cool the glass. If participants can not return the next day, the artwork can be shipped home for a small fee.
The personal glass blowing experience was amazing and very interesting. My husband and I both wish we had bought 2 additional reservations for ourselves to participate. But, we loved having a front seat to watch our girls create their own unique glass pieces, and that was super cool!
The professional artist was friendly and more than willing to answer all of the questions my daughters threw his way. This was a great experience and we learned not only the process of making glass art but also gained an appreciation for the time, talent and effort put into the creation of glass pieces.
Quick little side tidbit:
My daughter’s experiences were reserved for 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. We arrived early and were delighted to find a cozy, modern coffee shop right next door to the Morean Arts Center.
The Banyan Café and Catering, Central location, offers super yummy, fresh breakfast sandwiches, burritos, waffles, fruit, granola and pastries. Made with local ingredients, the inventive and unique menu changes often. Breakfast and lunch are both served daily. A weekend brunch is also served and there are several delightful tables providing indoor and outdoor seating.
The address is 701 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida and phone number is 727-896-6600. Check out their daily menu at www.banyancoffee.com.
Hours of operation:
Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
The Morean Arts Center is located at 719 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida, 33701.
The main website is www.moreanartscenter.org
For more information, call 727-822-7872.
The art center is free and open to the public.
Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 noon-5:00 p.m.
You need to know:
The personal glass blowing experience is $75 per person for 30 minutes.
The minimum age requirement is 11 years old.
Participants need to wear closed-toed shoes, cotton clothing and no dangling jewelry, rings or bracelets.
After the personal glass blowing experience, we spent several hours viewing the Chihuly Collection across the street. Read a review of the Chihuly Collection here.
We leisurely walked Central Avenue for the rest of the afternoon, enjoying a quiet, delicious lunch at the Iberian Rooster, ice cream treats and perusing many local shops in the Central Arts District.
I recommend spending an entire day (or 2!) enjoying this eccentric and eclectic area of St. Petersburg, Florida.
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