Founded in 1987, ten students and graduates of The Ohio State University Glass Program came together under the name Glass Axis. The group built a portable glass blowing studio and traveled all over Central Ohio teaching glass art, with a focus on the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Artists-in-Schools Program. Five years later, the organization (by then, 20 members strong) established a more rooted glassmaking studio in what is now Columbus’ Arena District and in 2001 moved to the Grandview area of Columbus. Since then, Glass Axis has grown to over 120 members and includes amateur and professional artists. In 2014, Glass Axis made yet another move to a larger space in the East Franklinton area. This space is a comprehensive glass-making facility, encompassing molten glass, casting, fusing, neon, stained glass, cold working, and torch working. The space offers first-class facilities to glass artists in all stages of development, hundreds of classes and public programs each year, exhibition and retail space, high school and college internship programs, and a work credit program to help keep artists in the studio. Glass Axis has become a civic hub for glass art creation and learning and is a place of cultural equity that continues to adapt and grow.
To learn more about Glass Axis history, we suggest Glass Axis: 25 Years of Columbus Community Art Glass. This 147 page book is the definitive story of Columbus, Ohio’s glass studio art movement. The book, chronicled by Glass Axis founder and OSU Art Professor Richard Harned, along with former and current members, looks at Glass Axis as it emerged during the growing glass movement in the 1980s, 90s and 2000’s in the United States.
Melody is a life-long resident of Columbus, Ohio. She was raised by arts-loving parents and spent her formative years either in the competitive swimming pool or on stage at Park Playhouse Teen Community Theatre. She graduated from Fort Hayes Arts & Academic High School and the Vocal Music Career Center with Certificates of Specialization in Music and Theatre. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Business (Arts Administration) from Otterbein University. She comes to Glass Axis after other positions in the Columbus arts community, formerly with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus and Actors’ Theatre of Columbus. She is an avid Netflix binger, family campground coordinator and movie and song lyric quoter. She is an active cheer/gymnastics/swimming/flag football/wrestling mom and loudest fan in the stands. Melody currently resides on the Hilltop with her amazingly patient husband, Tom, and their four adorable, yet precocious children, Gretchen, Nathan, Megan and Calvin
Matt had his first experience in melting glass rods with a torch at age 16 and was fascinated with the process. He took his first hot glass class at Glass Axis while he was working in a manufacturing facility. Matt enjoyed the physicality of the work and the studio environment so much he decided to search for universities in central Ohio that offered glassblowing as a major and chose to attend The Ohio State University. He graduated with a BFA in Glass in 2016 and began working as an assistant studio technician at Glass Axis in 2017 and took over as Facilities Manager in 2018. Matt lives in London, Ohio with his two fantastically crazy dogs.
Anita Rigsby Szuch
Anita has experience working with several other nonprofit organizations within Central Ohio and most recently served as Executive Director of PLAN of Central Ohio since 2006. PLAN of Central Ohio is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing future care planning and support services for adults with mental illness and their families.
Anita is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Arts Education with a focus on successful management of non-profit arts organizations.
Anita enjoys fiber-arts and is a weaver. She is also a longtime advocate in the animal welfare community and has been a dog obedience instructor at Columbus All-Breed Training Club for the past 24 years. She is married and lives in Westerville, Ohio, with three Labrador Retrievers and several curious cats.
Social Media Coordinator and Gallery Manager
Alex is the Social Media Coordinator and an Instructor for Glass Axis. Before working at Glass Axis, she was the team leader for Cedar Point Amusement Park’s Glassblowing Theater. For 6 years she did glassblowing demonstrations and narrations for the public, while managing their glass studio. Alex also worked at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion as a Glass Facilitator where she taught hands-on glassmaking classes and did public glassblowing demonstrations and narrations for museum visitors. Fresch received her BFA from The Ohio State University in 2012, but her passion for glass began while she was still in high school and took a chance Fibers & Glass class. The majority of Fresch’s work is inspired by nature, especially from her travels to tropical destinations, influencing her to use bright, highly saturated colors like those seen in warm climates.
Fresch’s glass artwork can be seen in galleries in both Northern Ohio and locally in the Columbus area. Visit her website for images of her recent works www.alexandrafresch.com
Finance & Programming Manager
Sarah is originally from Columbus and has lived in Westerville for the past ten years. She graduated from Capital University in 2016 with B.A. in Art Therapy with concentration in psychology and studio art. She enjoys photography, oil, and watercolor painting. Sarah served a one year internship at Sun Apple Studios, an art studio for developmentally delayed adults in Central Ohio. She is most proud of her work on the art installation entitled “The Hero Within Imagination and Identity” which opened in the Fall of 2015.
Rose McVey Succi
Shop Steward and Instructor
Rose has been an instructor and artist at Glass Axis for more than 10 years. She holds a BFA in Glass from The Ohio State University. She began working for the glass director at Ohio State who introduced her to Glass Axis. She began cleaning and teaching in all areas soon after, and has been here ever since.
Studio Technician and Instructor
Our Board of Trustees
Courtney Marx, President: Cardinal Health
Ray MacLaren, Former-President, Treasurer: L Brands
Larry Clark, President Elect: Made from Scratch
Claire Meeks, Secretary: The Ohio State University
Molly R. Gwin: Isaac Wiles, LLC
Beth Ullum: The Ohio State University
Julie Klein: United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1059 (UFCW Local 1059)
Kenneth Donchatz: The Columbus Project
Glass Axis continues to grow in our Franklinton location and continues to create opportunities through advancing glass art education. Thanks to Our Supporters for making this possible. We have been using the increased revenue to pay down debt and replace aging equipment. This year we purchased a flameworking kiln and are rebuilding a reheating chamber as well as a myriad of small improvements throughout the facility.
We had our annual Glassquerade in February featuring a Wine and Ale Trail that was very successful. We plan on doing it again in 2019.
Annual Review - 2018
Exhibitions that Spur the Imagination
Our 2018 exhibitions in the Kennedy Galleries at Glass Axis featured well-known artists from around the country as well as a special exhibition featuring art designed by children.
Classes, Equipment Rentals, and Art Sales Continue to Increase
Glass Axis operating revenue and support increased by almost 22%. While most revenue streams increased, the largest increase was in glass art sales and commissions. Our sincere thanks to the Ohio Arts Council, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and The Columbus Foundation, as well as our many other donors for their generous support.
Class Participation: 3640
“So much fun and the instructor, Rose, was great! We have never done anything like this before but she obviously knew what she was doing. We will definitely be back!” – Erica R.
“Girls weekend away and tried a glass-blowing class to make an ornament. Our instructor was awesome – personal and talented and helpful. We can’t wait to pick up our ornaments. We are hooked and will be doing more glass-blowing in the future! Thanks for a great time!!!” – Beth M,
“My teenage daughter, my mom and I took a stained glass class for the first time this past weekend and loved it! The instructor was helpful, knowledgeable, patient and encouraging. They were prepared with their materials as well as the instruction. Our projects turned out great. We have found a new hobby! Check out Glass Axis, it’s great”. – Brandy Y.
Our intensive workshops started with Kit Paulson, Chad Parker, and Sini Majuri and continued throughout the year with Michele Rial, Nadine Saylor, Theresa Sharp. These workshops spanned the hot shop, flame-working, and fused glass and taught participants advanced techniques in each area.
A community of creative members and volunteers
We’ve continued to grow during the last year and we still have so much more to accomplish. Membership has continued to grow steadily and equipment rentals are up by over 7%. Over 79% of current Glass Axis members identify themselves as glass artists, and nearly 65% of these rent our equipment to create their art. It has been a pleasure watching these artists create new and exciting pieces. Support from our community of volunteers has also increased with strong support of over 1000 hours of assistance.
Demonstrations designed to inspire
Glass Axis hosted demonstrations for over 800 participants including demonstrations on Franklinton Fridays. Glass Axis hosted demonstrations from visiting artists such as Alison Chism and Matt Paskiet. Daisuke Takatomi also gave a demonstration at Glass Axis, thanks to the Japanese-American Society of Central Ohio. Our largest demonstration was the trio of Nancy Callan, Dave Walters, and Rik Allen thanks to help from Tom Hawk of Hawk Galleries.
The 2019 Glassquerade will feature beer tasting, custom glass creations on-the-spot, and much more. Next year’s summer workshops will feature artists from around the country. We are planning new classes and more of the most popular classes. Meanwhile, we will continue to make improvements in the facility and equipment with your support.
From our annual audit report (click here for the full audit report):
Total End of Year Net Assets
For those of you who REALLY like numbers, the Glass Axis IRS Form 990 is available for your reading pleasure.