GlassRoots, Inc.


10 Bleeker Street
Newark, NJ 07102
County: Essex


Ms. Barbara Heisler

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

To support GlassRoots as it works to deepen and understand better its impact on Newark-area youth, by examining its programs, deepening its pedagogy, and strengthening its outreach and collaborative relationships. GlassRoots' strategic plan envisions doing 'more and better', we have changed the definition of 'more' to 'more in-depth' and increased our focus on 'better' to mean quality and length of experience and ultimately the impact, as we work to implement this mandate.

Organization Background

'The mission of GlassRoots is to transform lives, especially of underserved youth, by fostering life-long learning and creative self-expression through the wonder of glass-making.'

GlassRoots was founded in January 2001 with the belief that communities can be transformed and elevated through the arts. GlassRoots knew that the youth of the community held enormous potential which could be realized if only they were empowered with the gift of creative self-expression.

GlassRoots is modeled on the Hilltop Artists-in-Residence project in Tacoma, Washington. Hilltop's program was designed to provide youth with a pathway to self-sufficiency through employing glassmaking skills, offering street-smart, school-rejecting youth an avenue for self-expression while emphasizing the values of self-discipline, cooperation and team-work. Given the inherent danger present in glassblowing, many at-risk youth find it 'cool' to participate in such an activity, all the while quietly absorbing these important values that must be constantly reinforced in order to practice these activities safely and productively.

GlassRoots expanded this model by adding formal training in color, form, spatial concepts, communication design and computer skills and a sequential entrepreneurial skills segment that develops an understanding for how one creates and operates a business. This skill-set parlays into career options and job opportunities that build upon the fundamental skills of concentration, team-work, communication and artistic design. In addition, GlassRoots employs the curriculum-based disciplines of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, enhanced by adding Arts in the mix), to provide students with hands-on learning that complements traditional classroom teaching, providing measurable outcomes in student performance. Over the past 12 years, nearly 10,000 youth have been trained at the GlassRoots studios in the various techniques of glass making.

Fire is dangerous, exciting, and fascinating. When controlled, it can create beautiful things. The initiative to learn and the guidance of teachers combine to bring out the best in GlassRoots' students. Our four experienced teaching artists and our three assistant instructors, each a former student of our program, impart invaluable life skills. Students are forever strengthened by the knowledge that they are capable of creating beautiful works of glass art.

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