Hot Gatherings, Cool Conversations: Stephen Rolfe Powell
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Featuring glass artists: Stephen Rolfe Powell
Stephen Rolfe Powell has had an enormous impact on glass art from the campus of highly respected Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. He received his BA in painting and ceramics from Centre in 1974 and then discovered glass while a graduate student at Louisiana State University, where he received his MFA in ceramics.
He returned to Centre in 1983 and founded the glass program in 1985, which has attracted students from across the country. The first studio resided on the rooftop of a college building. He later designed and completed a state-of-the-art glass studio, which opened as part of the new Jones Visual Arts Center in 1998.
Since 2004, he has been the H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Art and was twice named Kentucky Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Through his influence, many talented artists, including Lino Tagliapietra, have instructed Centre College students, who have gone on to pursue notable artistic and teaching careers of their own.
Mr. Powell exhibits his work and participates in workshops, demonstrations, and lectures around the globe. His glass art was on view during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and at Venezia Aperto Vetro in the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, Italy in 1998. He was one of only eight American artists invited to participate. His work is part of the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, among others.
His career from 1983 to 2007 is documented in Stephen Rolfe Powell: Glassmaker, published by the University Press of Kentucky. Glass Focus called it “a stunner of a book.” He has been featured on CBS TV’s Sunday Morning and in such publications as American Style, Glass, and Ceramics Monthly. In 2010, he received the Kentucky Artist Award, one of the Governor’s Awards in the Arts.