Glassblowing alumni returned to Hastings College for Professor of Visual Arts Tom Kreager’s “Blow-Out” benefit in order to raise money to aid Kreager in paying medical bills since his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer last December.
Alumni made pieces during the benefit held in the Jackson Dinsdale Art Center Glass Studio this past Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. These pieces will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to Kreager.
Over 30 alumni came out to the event to support their former professor. Most traveled from areas of the Midwest, primarily from Colorado and Nebraska. Others traveled from as far as parts of the East and West Coasts and even Japan.
Throughout the day, many of them worked in the glass studio making a variety of goblets, vases, platters and vessels — all exemplifying the craft of glass work. Students, faculty, staff and community members came in and out during the course of the benefit. It is expected that a total of about 150 people came to watch the glass artists at work and support Kreager.
Pieces made during the benefit will be placed in an online auction where one can bid for them. Although the auction date is not set yet, Kreager says it will happen soon, and will most likely occur on Facebook. Pieces will be cold-worked and photographed before being auctioned.
Most of these alumni have made a profession in glass, with some working in studios around the country and a few owning or managing their own studios. Kreager said that many of them will rent time sessions and equipment in glass studios in order to work on their personal practice. Those owning their own studio often teach community classes or hold community outreach events and programs. While their work and location may differ now, they all started glassblowing at HC under the direction of Kreager.
Along with various people blowing glass throughout the day, hot dogs and sandwiches were also being sold in order to raise money for Kreager’s benefit. Students in the Department of Visual Arts and Honors Program volunteered by serving the meals and collecting donations.
Later in the evening, a live-music performance was given by the “Polka Police,” playing various well-known songs in a polka musical style.
Kreager said that this past weekend was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Kreager considers his past students as family and values the community that has been fostered through the glass studio and art department. Kreager said having his family over the past 28 years of him teaching at HC come back to campus and come together in order to help him through a difficult time has been amazing.