Ignite was founded upon the core value of building and transforming community with a specific mission to offer under-resourced youth a safe environment to explore and expand their imaginations and the possibilities. To support this mission, we have developed partnerships with local youth organizations such as After School Matters, Youth Outreach Services and Y.O.S.
In June 2014 Ignite formed a dynamic new partnership with the recently launched non-profit, Ignition Community Glass (ICG). ICG develops and funds tuition-free glass art programming for under-resourced youth in Chicago. ICG strives to inspire and empower students through interactive hands-on glass art programming.
Our mission in working with students goes beyond simply teaching them how to blow glass. At Ignite, we believe in the transformative power of glass. We have seen how exposure to the medium as well as inclusion in a creative, encouraging, and safe learning environment has helped teens blossom and find their voice and passion. In an age of technology and with arts education disappearing from the curriculum, many adolescents no longer experience kinetic learning and the satisfaction of physically creating something. The act of making something with your own hands instills a sense of pride and accomplishment that boosts confidence.
Working with a medium that requires so much focus and technical skill also helps students learn to persevere in the face of challenges and not be afraid to fail. Most of all, working with glass makes a student feel unique and special and along with the positive influence of the artists and educators around them, involvement in the glass outreach program supports and encourages students to succeed in other areas of their lives.
The making of glass art – whether glass blowing, fusing, molding, sculpting or lamp-working – is a transformative art form that empowers young people. The synergy of the elements unique to glass art – collaboration, stamina, trust, discipline and focus – requires a special type of engagement from the participant and, with it, cultivates a special type of personal growth.
We have seen time and again the impact the process of making glass art has on young people. It dynamically inspires creativity and problem solving and builds self-confidence and life skills. It is a privilege to witness the transformation and growth that takes place at Ignite and a thrill to watch our facility grow into a vibrant, inclusive art community.
Ignite Glass Studios, Co-Founder