Ohio State University Urban Arts Space works hard to house hundreds of exhibits within its walls in hopes of bringing the university and Ohio community together through experiences in art.

July 10, 2009, marked the beginning of one of the space’s large-scale exhibitions, BIGG: Breakthrough Ideas in Global Glass.

A groundbreaking collaboration between OSU Urban Arts Space, The Ohio State Department of Art’s glass program and Hawk Galleries of downtown Columbus, BIGG shines a spotlight on today’s most forward-looking and innovative glass artists.

Calls for entries spanned the world, and the requirement of having a Master of Fine Arts degree from 2000 or sooner ensures the participation of the next generation of glass artists.

A jury consisting of glass artists and other art professionals then decided on the 43 artists and more than 100 works shown in the exhibition.

Having a jury choose artists and their works was a special feature of this particular exhibit.

“The jury was important,” said Kelly Stevelt Kaser, deputy director of OSU Urban Arts Space, “It included Lino Tagliapietra, one of the world’s leading glass artists.”

With such world-renowned artists playing vital roles in the production of BIGG, students got the chance to work hand-in-hand with leaders in the field.

“The exhibit was designed by students and student-run,” Kaser said.
From setting up installations, creating the Web site and marketing the exhibition, students had the chance to experience the progression of creating an exhibit from start to finish.

Intentionally planned to continue into the school year, BIGG has created a lot of opportunity to connect the Ohio community with OSU’s campus, Kaser said. There has been a large community response as well as a student presence.

October signals the end of the exhibition and, as a conclusion, BIGG is offering a closing tour. The closing tour is a celebration of the entire exhibit and a look at its total progression.

Joanna Reed, a second-year in dance and history of art, is OSU Urban Arts Space’s student assistant and has developed and facilitated the closing tour. She will also conduct the closing tour.

“There have been many tours given throughout the BIGG exhibition,” Reed said, “but for the closing tour, I plan on taking a few of my favorite works and discussing them in detail. [I will share] any information I have on the artist, fun facts about installing the work and the conceptual ideas behind the glass works.”

“I am involved in all of our exhibitions,” Reed said, “but BIGG has been my favorite show yet.”

After its Oct. 10 conclusion, BIGG will travel to Chicago’s Navy Pier for the Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair exhibition from Nov. 5 through 8. From there it will travel to New York at the Steuben Glass flagship store on Madison Avenue, to be displayed throughout the holiday season.