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Exhibition explores 60 years of Wisconsin Glass for MOWA’s 60th Anniversary | By Jennifer Turner

West Bend, WI – The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) announces the opening of its newest exhibition The Studio Glass Movement: The Hyde Collection.

MOWA, Hyde, glass

The exhibition is on view Saturday, October 23, 2021 through Sunday, January 23, 2022.

Coinciding with the International Year of Glass (2022) and MOWA’s 60th anniversary (2021), this exhibition features 39 Wisconsin glass artists and more than 100 pieces, including seminal works by early innovators and ambitious installations by contemporary artists.

Wisconsin was front and center at the inception of the Studio Glass movement. Heralded as the founding father of the movement, Harvey K. Littleton built the first glass program at the University of Wisconsin­–Madison in 1962.

His early students became apostles, spreading the gospel of glass as they founded programs across the United States, including Doug Johnson who went on to found the glass program at the University of Wisconsin­–River Falls in 1967.

James Engebretson and Eóin Breadon followed Johnson, contributing to another two generations of glass artists from the UW–River Falls program. In recent decades, the thriving art scene of Door County has attracted a community of glass artists who have created yet another node of influence in the state’s storied history, including husband and wife duo Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard.

“On the occasion of this exhibition, MOWA is delighted to announce more than one hundred glass works from James and Karen Hyde have now formally joined the museum’s glass collection,” said Laurie Winters, Executive Director | CEO.

“The Hyde collection tells the story of Wisconsin’s role in the development of the Studio Glass movement from its inception in Madison in the early 1960s to the later development of important glass centers at UW–River Falls and in Door County. We are thrilled to now make this collection available to the wider public in conjunction with MOWA’s anniversary and the 2022 International Year of Glass.”


James and Karen Hyde began buying glass in 2009, with the intention of building a collection for MOWA. James Hyde—a renowned biophysicist with more than thirty patents pertaining to MRI technology—was deeply attracted to the science that underlies glass art and the spirit of experimentation that characterizes its practitioners.

A full-color 160-page catalogue accompanies the exhibition and presents the state’s central role in the Studio Glass movement over the past sixty years. The catalogue features essays by Jan Mirenda Smith (former Executive Director of the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass), Davira Taragin (consulting Curator of Glass), and Dr. James Hyde. The exhibition catalogue will be available for purchase at the MOWA Shop.

MOWA in West Bend, Wisconsin is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9:30–4:00. Admission as low as $15 provides unlimited visits for one full year.


Christopher R. Belleau  (UW–Madison)

Eóin Breadon (UW–River Falls)

Patrick Casanova (UW–River Falls)

Jon F. Clark  (UW–River Falls)

Deanna Clayton

Brent Cox (UW–Madison)

Stephan Cox (UW–River Falls)

Fritz Dreisbach (UW–Madison)

Boris Dudchenko

James E. and Renée Nielsen Engebretson  (UW–River Falls)

Angelo Fico

Sharon Fujimoto

Audrey Handler (UW–Madison)

David Huchthausen (UW–Madison)

Wes S. Hunting

Wes J. Hunting

Kent Ipsen (UW–Madison)

Beth Lipman

Harvey K. Littleton (1922–2013) (UW–Madison)

Thomas Maras

Tom McGlauchlin (1943–2011) (UW–Madison)

Michael Meilahn (UW–River Falls)

Karen Eyara Naylor (UW–Madison)

Colleen Ott (UW–River Falls)

Jeremy Popelka (UW–Madison)

Nolan Prohaska

Jackson Schwartz (UW–River Falls)

Douglas and Renée Sigwarth  (UW–River Falls)

Scott Simmons (UW–Madison)

Jeffrey Stenbom (UW–River Falls)

Stephanie Trenchard


The exhibition invites viewers to deepen their engagement with the works and the themes through an array of onsite and virtual programs.

Opening Party

Saturday, October 23 | 2:00–4:00

Celebrate the opening and meet the exhibiting artists of The Studio Glass Movement: The Hyde Collection. Enjoy live music and a cash bar.


Artist Talk | Jeffrey Stenbom

Saturday, November 13 | 2:00

Exhibiting glass artist Jeffrey Stenbom discusses his deployment to Iraq with the United States Army, and how these experiences as a soldier have impacted and inspired his creative work in glass.


Artist Talk | Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard

Saturday, November 27 | 2:00

Exhibiting Glass artists Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard discuss their bodies of work as well as the glass community of Door County, WI.


Virtual Artist Talk | Beth Lipman and Jon Clark  

Wednesday, December 1 | 7:00

Exhibiting Glass artists Beth Lipman and Jon Clark share stories of their interwoven experiences as a student and professor and the importance of mentorship in the glass community. Streamed live on Facebook and YouTube.


Artist Talk | Eóin Breadon

Saturday, December 4 | 2:00

Exhibiting artist Eóin Breadon discusses the Celtic influences of his work; his current position at the  University Wisconsin–River Falls as Art Department Chair; and his efforts to rethink a student education that marries business and artistic practices.



Studio Class | Recycling Glass Into Art

Saturday, December 11 | 10:00

Taylor Moeller-Roy from the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass (Neenah, Wisconsin) teaches how to repurpose leftover glass bottles into beautiful, functional household objects using a special scoring tool and thermal shock. All supplies included. Register at wisconsinart.org/mowamasters


Expert Talk | Wisconsin and Sixty Years of Studio Glass with Jan Mirenda Smith  

Saturday, January 15, 2022 | 2:00

Jan Mirenda Smith, Board member for the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass and co-chair of the International Year of Glass in the U.S., kicks off the International Year of Glass 2022 with a talk on  the history of glass in Wisconsin and her unique involvement in forging that path.




Image 1: Douglas and Renée Sigwarth, Untitled Vessel, from the series Watercolors, 2008. Blown glass. Purchased 2012, James and Karen Hyde Foundation

Image 2: Jeremy Popelka, Serac, 2015. Sand cast glass. Gifted 2018, James and Karen Hyde

Image 3: Stephanie Trenchard, Hatted Woman, 2021. Blown and assembled glass with enamel paint. Gifted 2021, James and Karen Hyde


A vital cultural center, educational institution, and an expanding network of ideas, the Museum of Wisconsin Art collects and interprets American art through the lens of a single state. Informed by dynamic initiatives and collaborations, MOWA is an innovative forum for contemporary artists, socially relevant exhibitions, lectures by artists and industry experts, and engaging classes and activities for all ages. The museum’s primary venue—the modernist “Mothership”—rests along the Milwaukee River in downtown West Bend, drawing visitors and tourists from the far corners of the state. MOWA annually welcomes 200,000 visitors, making it a cultural destination for the art and artists of our time. Visit wisconsinart.org to learn more.


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