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The Seattle Glass Story

Though glass has ancient traditions in Europe, it’s a relatively young art form in the United States. Just over 50 years ago, factory facilities were producing glass works, but the idea of “glass art” didn’t exist. In 1962, the first glass program in America brought the idea of studio glass to fruition, marking a fundamental shift in glassblowing in America. The Studio Glass movement put greater emphasis on the artist as designer and maker and encouraged the creation of one-of-a-kind objects.

Since those beginnings, interest and experimentation with glass art has flourished, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, a recent study led by the Glass Art Society found the Pacific Northwest is the leading regional hub for glass art in the United States. More than 700 glass artists, from emerging artists to master glassmakers, live in Washington. Pilchuck Glass School, an internationally renowned center for glass art education, is thriving here. More than 100 glass art studios made their home in our region.


Want to know why the Pacific Northwest is the center?

Chihuly Garden and Glass and Visit Seattle set out to answer that question by creating “Refract: The Seattle Glass Experience,” which is the nation’s newest festival highlighting creative uses of glass. Held October 17-20, 2019, Refract brings together more than 50 art organizations and artists to host events throughout the region. Tour local studios, get up-close to the art of glassblowing at live demonstrations, explore exhibitions and museums, attend evening parties, and more.

Join us this fall. See where glass art is created with obsessive passion, beauty, and who-knows-what’s-next creativity. Explore the magic and depths of this fascinating material. Celebrate alongside the artists who put this region on the map. We hope to see you there.

About Chihuly Garden and Glass

Located at Seattle Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass brings together all the elements of artist Dale Chihuly’s work, including Drawings, signature glass series, large architectural installations and personal collections. The long-term Exhibition features indoor galleries, the centerpiece Glasshouse, and an ever-changing Garden, along with live glass demonstrations, a Theatre, and Collections Café – a Northwest dining experience featuring items from Chihuly’s personal collections. Learn more at

About Visit Seattle

Visit Seattle has served as the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Seattle and King County for more than 50 years. A 501(c)(6) organization, Visit Seattle enhances the economic prosperity of the region through global destination branding along with competitive programs and campaigns in leisure travel marketing, convention sales and overseas tourism development. More than 40 million annual visitors spend $7.9 billion in the city and county each year. The economic power of travel and tourism generates more than 78,000 Seattle area jobs and contributes $806 million in annual state and local tax revenue. Visit