GlassRoots, Inc.


10 Bleeker Street
Newark, NJ 07102
County: Essex


Ms. Barbara Heisler

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

For support of GlassRoots' work exploring and creating glass art with youth, in a safe environment with positive role models and skill building opportunities.

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 was initially modeled on Tacoma Washington's Hilltop Artists-in-Residence project, which was designed to provide youth with a pathway to self-sufficiency through employing glassmaking skills. GlassRoots modified that 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, Arts, Engineering and Math), to provide students with hands-on learning that complements traditional classroom teaching.

In 2014, with a generous grant from the Agnes Varis Charitable Trust, GlassRoots began its first formal post-high school program -- in Scientific Glassblowing. With this new addition to our arsenal, we realize the relationship of glass as a functional art. Occupying that tenuous space between fine art and the everyday, functional art refers to aesthetic objects that serve utilitarian purposes.

Over the past 13 years, 14,000 youth have been educated at the GlassRoots studio in the various techniques of glass making and business skills. Our four experienced teaching artists, our two assistant glass instructors, each a former student of our program, and our entrepreneurship instructor impart invaluable life skills. Glassmaking is fun; it builds self-confidence and also self-reliance. And here at GlassRoots, it introduces students to the power of their own artistry while also exposing them to business and life skills.

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