After six years with Pilchuck Glass School, Tina Aufiero stepping down as Artistic Director

Published Friday, July 6, 2018 6:30 am
At the end of this year, Artistic Director Tina Aufiero will be leaving Pilchuck Glass School to continue her artistic practice after six years of service and creative foresight in advancing programs for the school.
During Aufiero’s tenure, Pilchuck has benefited from her vast knowledge of emerging technologies in the arts and her work implementing outreach programs. Aufiero has added a range of mediums to Pilchuck’s repertoire of course offerings, expanding the landscape in which glass artists can explore and challenge their practice at the world’s premiere glass school.
“Tina has been a leading force in identifying emerging talents to teach, collaborating with nontraditional glass artists to inspire new methods, and recognizing partnerships that have introduced Pilchuck’s mission to new audiences,” shares Executive Director Christopher Taylor, who was appointed in April. “Tina is in the process of curating our 2019 programs and we are excited to have her imprint on the organization for another year. We truly thank her for her service to the school.”
Among Aufiero’s accomplishments include the introduction of innovative programming unique to Pilchuck with classes that use digital technology in the application of glass art-making, the establishment of the school’s BotLab housing multiple 3-D printers and scanners for experimentation and model making, the institution of pipe classes into the curriculum, and an expansion of the Print Shop and its importance within the greater context of art making at the campus. 
“Experimentation is a pillar of the Pilchuck experience,” says Tina Aufiero. “At the forefront of my mind in programming has been to give students opportunities to experiment and forge new pathways in their artistic processes.”
Aufiero has been a dedicated advocate for sharing Pilchuck with new audiences. She collaborated with the Chrysler Museum of Art and Schack Art Center to showcase the school’s vast print collection. In 2017, she facilitated the introduction of the Murano Residency award for Pilchuck; a prestigious residency experience awarded to the school’s top six glassblowing applicants. Aufiero also helped introduce youth programming, including semi-annual immersive retreats with students from Hilltop Artists, an organization co-founded by Dale Chihuly and Kathy Kaperick in Tacoma, WA. This year she has initiated a new partnership with the Lummi Youth Academy of Bellingham, WA, for a retreat to take place later in the fall.
First coming to Pilchuck Glass School as a student herself in 1979, Tina Aufiero returned in 1994 to teach a course on advanced kiln casting.  
“My first year at Pilchuck in 1979 was such an eye opener,” she says, “back then, programming was less formal. Pilchuck was always a highlight for me; this unwieldy naturally evolving creature that inspired so many artists including myself. Even as an instructor I found inspiration here.”
She returned several times over the years, both to teach and for an artist residency, before stepping in as Interim Artistic Director and finally Artistic Director in 2013.
“My time with Pilchuck Glass School has been an incredible professional adventure, a position I’ve been honored to hold. However, I’m looking forward to refocusing my energy and dedicating more time to my own art.”
Aufiero’s own work spans across disciplines of art, sculpture, craft, design, and technology. She has exhibited and lectured internationally and her works are included in the collections of John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI.; The Heineman Collection-Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland; Venini SpA, Italy; and Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, WA.
Pilchuck will begin the search for its next artistic director by the beginning of 2019. Shares Christopher Taylor, “One of the greatest testaments to Pilchuck’s history is its place in cultivating future generations of glass artists. It’s an exciting time for Pilchuck to begin thinking about what’s next for the field of glass. We are poised for the next creative mind to continue taking our programs further.”

For questions about this announcement, please contact Pollyanna Manning at or (206) 254-1968