A unique and inspiring art program exists in Tacoma, Washington, helping hundreds of young people each year.
Hilltop Artists is a non-profit glass arts program founded in 1994. The program teaches students classes in glass blowing, mosaics, fused glass, and even glass beadwork.
By encouraging positive creative and artistic expression, the Hilltop Artists program has a large impact on the future of its many students.
Artistic Glass Arts Program
People between the ages of 12 and 20 from Pierce County can be accepted into the Hilltop Artists program. Approximately 500 students are accepted each year, and many of them find the program a good way of connecting with others and expressing themselves in a positive way.
Hilltop Artists operates with the Tacoma public school system. A few of the schools in the division offer classes taught by Hilltop Artists instructors and some even operate an after-school or summer program.
Between 24 and 30 students are accepted each year to be part of the production team. This is a program where students work part-time in the evenings on various glass blowing, jewelry and bead projects, and even commissioned pieces. The products made by the production team are available for sale in the Hilltop Artists glass gallery, with all money raised going back into the program to keep it tuition-free for participants. There are also two annual sales held each December and June.
Hilltop Artists is always accepting tax-deductible donations and volunteer applications from people who are interested in contributing to this unique art program for youth.
The Impact of the Hilltop Artists Program
No student can have his or her application to the program refused because of lack of or level of artistic talent, any physical or mental conditions, or past behavior. As noted on the organization’s website, Hilltop Artists are “using glass art to connect young people from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds to better futures.”
There are many benefits of this unique program, including:
- teaching students skills in a craft that has life-long potential as a hobby or career
- helping with teaching students how to set goals, follow through on projects, and develop learning patience with themselves and others
- giving students experience with working independently and as a team member
- empowering students with the ability to design and create pieces of art
- helping students with developing interpersonal skills through working with instructors and meeting new friends
In 2012 a video produced featuring Hilltop Artists won a Telly Award. The Telly Awards were created in 1978 as a visual arts award celebrating and supporting creative community. Awards are granted for local, regional, and cable television programs, video and film productions, and online content production.