Talks and Lectures, Workshops, Performances, Films, For Kids & Families, Weekend Festivals

Atrium Alive: The Art of Fire

Weekend Festival

All programs included with museum admission

Saturday, November 14, 2009 to Sunday, November 15, 2009 from 11am - 4pm

Location: Atrium

Atrium Alive: The Art of Fire

Spend a weekend with New England glass artists as they demonstrate their skill with small "lamps" of fire and talk about the beads they created in response to objects in PEM’s collection. Meet world-renowned glass artist Josh Simpson, whose Mega Megaplanet is on view in the American Art Gallery, learn to play marbles, listen to glass harmonica music and make a beaded bracelet.

Saturday and Sunday


Glass Artists
11 am–4 pm, Atrium

Watch artists melt rods of glass with small torches to create amazingly detailed works of art. After the glass is fired in the kiln, artists finish their beads with paint, etching and other techniques. Participating artists are Barbara Newman, Cynthia Liebler Saari, Kate Fowle Meleney, Carol Bugarin, Beth Williams and Lee Woodburn.



Glass-Harmonica Player Vera Meyer
Noon and 2 pm, Atrium

After more than a century of obscurity, Benjamin Franklin's glass harmonica is back, delighting audiences with its haunting and ethereal sounds. (At one time it was thought to induce insanity, nervous disorders and hypnotic states.) Vera Meyer was one of the first musicians to acquire a glass harmonica based on the Franklin design from 1761. She co-founded Glass Music International and also rebuilds heirloom grand pianos.



Marble Madness
Noon–4 pm, Atrium

Try classic marble games, marble runs and cut-glass puzzles with experts from Eureka! Puzzles of Brookline, Mass.

Faux Stained Glass

1–3 pm, Art Studios

Using tissue paper and construction paper, create a "stained-glass" work of art!

Star Seeker, A Journey to Outer Space
3 pm, meet at the information desk
Reservations by November 12
For children ages 3 and up with accompanying adult
Saturday, November 14th Story Time tickets

Sunday, November 15th Story Time tickets


Join us for Theresa Heine and Victor Tavares' poetic tour of the solar system and see where artist Josh Simpson finds inspiration for his glass planets. We'll read the book in the American Art Gallery in front of Simpson's Mega Megaplanet.

Saturday only, November 14

Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel
11 am, meet at the information desk
This Tour is FULL


Be dazzled by a tour with Curator Paula Richter that focuses on beaded garments and accessories and explores how beadwork is used at all levels of fashion. The items on view feature Venetian and European glass beads, rhinestones and Bakelite, Native American turquoise, Baltic and Tibetan amber, Chinese jade, cloisonné enamel and much more!



12:30–12:50 pm
Reservations by November 12

Purchase Tickets Now

Glass artist Cynthia Saari discusses Japanese works of art from the PEM collection that inspire her own creations.

Beaded Bracelets
1:30 pm, Art Studios
For children ages 7 and up with accompanying adult
This workshop is FULL


Create your own beaded bracelet inspired by the weekend's featured glass artists.

Glass, A Fascinating (and Frustrating) Material, With Artist Josh Simpson
3 pm, Morse Auditorium
Reservations by November 12

Purchase Tickets Now

Josh Simpson draws inspiration from Apollo images of the Earth, space and the natural world. "People often want to know the meaning behind my work, particularly the Planets," Simpson says, referring to his glass spheres that depict imaginary worlds. "Some think I have a profound understanding of life. I think I have an appreciation for what's around me — the sky at night, the changing seasons, the views I get looking out of my studio down the valley. More than appreciative, I guess I'm curious, and I want my work to inspire such appreciation and curiosity. I create objects that explore my questions. I hope to inspire viewers to ask their own." At PEM, Simpson talks about his life's work and the Infinity Project, which invites people to hide his glass planets around the world. Made possible in part by the Lyceum Lecture Fund.

Sunday only, November 15


11:30 am–12:30 pm, Art Studios
For children ages 8 and up with accompanying adult

Using everyday materials, create your own kaleidoscope in this fast-paced workshop. Supplies are limited; first come, first served.

Meet at the information desk
Reservations by November 13

Noon–12:20 pm
Glass artist Lee Woodburn talks about the Indian art at PEM that inspire her work.
Purchase 12pm Tickets Now

1–1:20 pm
Glass artist Kate Fowle Meleney talks about the inspiration she draws from PEM's American decorative art.
Purchase 1pm Tickets Now



Beaded Bracelets
1:30 pm, Art Studios
Reservations by November 13

This workshop is FULL

Create your own beaded bracelet inspired by the weekend's featured glass artists. Artist Barbara Newman leads this special event.


Defying Gravity: An Historic Achievement in Glass Featuring Artist Josh Simpson 2006, 57 minutes, directed by Keith Clark
3 pm, Morse Auditorium
Reservations by November 13
Purchase Tickets Now

Cameras capture every step of the year-and-a-half process as artist Josh Simpson crafts the largest glass object of his career: a luminous 100-pound Megaplanet. The film features interviews with the makers of custom tools required for the project, Simpson's triumphs, disappointments, technical obstacles and inspiration, and the unveiling of the Megaplanet at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York.

Made possible by the Lowell Institute and ECHO (Education through Cultural and Historical Organizations)

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