HealthConnect One is gearing up for our annual cocktail party and fundraiser in Chicago and we are planning for one HOT night. Fired Up! is the name of this popular, fun event on June 11, 2015 and it will feature music, dancing, delicious foods and for the first time ever — an artist who will create art using fire and glass.
Pearl Dick has been working with glass for 15 years and is represented in galleries and private collections nationally and worldwide. She has worked with youth from Chicago’s South and West sides, teaching glassblowing and art making since 2006 and is the director of the Glassworks Program, an after-school glass art program funded by After School Matters that combines art-making with community art projects and public works.
Pearl is currently studying art therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is partnering with the University of Chicago, Comer Children’s Hospital, Healing Hurt People Chicago, and Ignition Community Glass on a research project exploring the therapeutic benefits of working with glass for youth who have been victims of violence on Chicago’s South side.
HC One: Relationships are the cornerstone of HealthConnect One’s community-based work and I understand that relationships have a strong role in your art. Can you tell about that?
Pearl: The connections we form with each other throughout our lives have always been fascinating to me. I choose to celebrate our human relationships in my art because I feel like we can better understand ourselves and our own place in the world through these interactions.
HC One: What is the most challenging aspect of working with the medium of glass?
Pearl: Glass is a technically challenging medium — no matter how naturally inclined you are, it just takes time to gain the proficiency to express yourself accurately. Working with glass is very physical and requires teamwork and communication, so unlike other art forms where you may be able to work alone, with complicated glass sculptures, you’re always interacting, planning, and directing your team. Also, it’s extremely hot — you’re sculpting a material that is 2000 degrees F. So, yeah, glass is challenging, but rewarding — overcoming these challenges is also what I love about working with glass.
HC One: What about doing a live event like this one do you enjoy?
Pearl: So many people have never seen glassblowing up close — I love to turn people on to this art form that I have so much passion for. It’s like a performance art piece when you’re sculpting glass in front of a crowd — I pick up on their energy and they become part of the artwork.
HC One: Our event is also a kick-off to summer. Is there something you’re really looking forward to this summer?
Pearl: I work with youth in underserved communities teaching glass and have applied to a scholarship program offered through the Corning Museum of Glass in NY on behalf of a very talented young artist to attend a week-long workshop in July with a mentor. It’s an amazing opportunity and if we get it, it will be the first time she will have traveled outside of Chicago — I’m really proud of the work that she has done and hoping we get this opportunity — fingers crossed!