In New Orleans, sculptor and Tulane professor Gene Koss will give a rare demo this coming Friday

by Valerie Hughes for Urban Glass Magazine

Gene Koss in action.

On Friday, March 2, 2018, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the YAYA Arts Center will host a glass demo by renowned glass artist and head of the Tulane glass program Gene Koss from 6 PM to 8 PM. In a telephone interview with the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet, Koss said he was eager to work with YAYA, a nonprofit organization he admires. His demo is part of his effort “to give back” to the glass community. During the Friday evening event, Koss says he will work on two sculptures with a team of seven, all of whom he appreciates greatly for their dedication. He always visits a space beforehand to see what equipment he should bring with him. Additionally, he will hang up drawings in the space so the audience will have a clearer image of what the finished project will look like. Koss is very excited for Friday’s demo and mentioned that it would be the 89th workshop of his career, which has spanned the last four decades.

Gene Koss Crevasse, Series 1, No. 2, 2015 Cast glass and steel 39 x 39 x 60 inches

In 1974, Koss received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin at River Falls and then received a Master of Fine Arts from Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Art, which is also where his first workshop was held. Koss often creates a maquette before undertaking one of his signature monumental mixed-media works that push the scale of cast glass to new heights. He expresses childhood memories of the Wisconsin rural landscape of his childhood in sculptures that utilize cast glass, steel.

In 1976, Koss founded the Tulane University glass program and brought the glass art movement to New Orleans. He helped to bring glass art into the realm of public art. His work is featured in a multitude of collections and has been exhibited at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, the Masur Museum of Art, the Sculpture Center in New York City, and at the International Biennale for Contemporary Art in Florence, Italy.

YAYA, which is an acronym for “Young Aspirations Young Artists” began as an after-school program in 1988 thanks to its founders, New Orleans artist Jana Napoli and art students from Rabouin High School in New Orleans. The program encouraged the creativity of high school students while preparing them for success. Over the years, YAYA’s programs have allowed students to become artist-mentors in elementary and high schools. In 2015, YAYA built and moved into the YAYA Arts Center, which is where Koss’ glass demo will be held on Friday

The YAYA Arts Center also features works for sale by young artists and Orenda, an exhibition of YAYA Alumni Artwork as a P.S. Satellite of Prospect New Orleans, featuring work by Jordan Barnes, Gerard Caliste, and Level Artist Collective. Prospect New Orleans is an organization that presents the work of diverse local, national, and international artists. With its Satellite program, Prospect New Orleans supports the local artist community by promoting exhibitions and art events.