Opening March 26, GATHER: 27 Years of Hilltop Artists presents the works of 21 alumni whose work challenges the status quo in questioning who is an authentic artist and who has value in museum spaces. Featuring primarily artists of color, GATHER highlights the outcomes and reach of the Hilltop Artists program while shining a light on opportunity gaps faced by these artists, many of whom have not yet been included in exhibitions on this scale. The exhibition includes over 30 pieces in a variety of mediums ranging from blown glass and neon to paintings and mixed media. GATHER: 27 Years of Hilltop Artists was curated by Trenton Quiocho, Hilltop Artists Alum (2008) and current Teaching Artist and Hot Shop Manager, with contributions by Dr. Kimberly Keith, Hilltop Artists Executive Director.
The works on view in GATHER represent only a fraction of the diverse artists who have emerged from the Hilltop Artists Program. Co-founded by Dale Chihuly and Kathy Kaperick in 1994, Hilltop Artists was developed as a community organization that provided a creative space for “at risk” youth from the Hilltop neighborhood to assist well-known artists in producing their works. Over time the program evolved from Hilltop Artists in Residence, where professional artists were in residence on the Hilltop, to Hilltop Artists, where young people from the Hilltop learn to become artists in their own right. Today, students ages 12 to 26 learn the art of glassmaking in daytime elective classes, after school enrichment programs, and Arts Connect cohorts for court-involved teens.
“This show is about representation,” said Dr. Kimberly Keith, Executive Director, Hilltop Artists. “Glass is expensive and exclusive, yet local BIPOC artists are having a breakthrough moment where they get to show what they can do and finally have a say in the narrative that has too often left them out.”
“One of the guiding principles of our mission, and the reason why it is such a thrill to be a part of TAM, is the museum’s commitment to the Tacoma community,” said David Setford, Executive Director, Tacoma Art Museum. “By ushering in artists whose roots are just up the hill from TAM, we help encourage today’s youth to create art and appreciate that art is everywhere and for everyone.”
GATHER: 27 Years of Hilltop Artists is presented in collaboration with Tacoma Art Museum. The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Leadership Sponsors including ArtsFund and Tacoma Creates. We give special thanks to additional supporters of Hilltop Artists including the Dale & Leslie Chihuly Foundation, Marie Lamfrom Foundation, and Tacoma Public Schools.
Douglas Jan Burgess II
Edelmira Jimenez Gallegos
About Tacoma Art Museum
Celebrating over 85 years, Tacoma Art Museum is the leading resource for art of the Pacific Northwest and greater western region. TAM’s mission is to transform our communities by sharing art that inspires broader perspectives and cultivates a compassionate future. TAM’s collection contains more than 5,300 works, with an emphasis on the art and artists of the Northwest and broader Western region, 25% of which consists of studio glass. The collection includes the largest retrospective museum collection of glass art by Tacoma native Dale Chihuly on permanent view; the most significant collection of studio art jewelry by Northwest artists; key holdings in 19th century European and 20th century American art; and one of the finest collections of Japanese woodblock prints on the West Coast. TAM is in the heart of Tacoma’s vibrant Museum District, which consists of six museums, including the Museum of Glass, a leader and frequent partner.
JayRay on behalf of Tacoma Art Museum