Express & Star

New managers chosen to secure future of International Festival of Glass

A new team has been chosen to run the International Festival of Glass to secure its future.

International Festival of Glass director Janine Christley at the Ruskin Glass Centre event in 2019

The popular show held alongside the British Glass Biennale attracts thousands of visitors to the region's glass quarter and will return here next summer.

It is held at Ruskin Glass Centre, the Glasshouse, in Wollaston Road, in Amblecote.

After that United States based Glass Art Society will manage the festival from 2026 despite a strong bid by Stourbridge based British Glass Foundation to take it over.

The festival is currently run by Gloucestershire's Ruskin Mill Land Trust which is giving up the showcase after the 10th anniversary celebrations in Stourbridge next August to concentrate on its main work with young people with learning difficulties.

Amy Cushing glass art at the 2022 British Glass Biennale. Photo: International Festival of Glass

The charity said all the festival bids were detailed and thoughtful, but it chose the society's team due to its expertise in organising complex glass events, its massive following of artists and collectors from around the world and keen eye on the strengths and weaknesses of the current glass scene.

It said the society's network would open up possibilities for positive collaboration with other glass centres as potential host venues, which the trustees felt would bring the festival and the glass community "the best possible future".

Glass Art Society director Brandi Clark said: “I am so excited the society has been chosen to lead the next phase of the International Festival of Glass. Our focus on supporting and promoting the international glass community has positioned us to steward and expand the solid foundation the Ruskin Mill Land Trust has built over the past 20 years.

"We are honoured to be trusted with this endeavour and are eagerly anticipating our first festival in 2026.”

Stourbridge is on a shortlist of future locations for the festival when the new operators take over the reins.

International Festival of Glass director Janine Christley added: “We hope everyone will support the society with the same warmth and enthusiasm that the festival has enjoyed over the last twenty years.

"We look forward to the festival and British Glass Biennale becoming even more ambitious and exciting under Brandi’s proficiency and leadership.”

The 10th International Festival of Glass will take place from August 23-26 next year in Stourbridge.

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