January 6th, 2015 | Filed under .
With a mission to promote self-confidence, leadership, and teamwork through instruction and direct experience with glass art, Hot Glass brings a new form of teambuilding to downtown Davenport. This art studio located in the Davenport Printing Company building provides participants a unique way of building self-confidence while understanding the importance of cooperating with one another.
How did such an organization start right here in downtown? With a passionate man determined to make a difference. While teaching at Moline High School, Hot Glass founder Joel Ryser had a dream to share his passion with others, and share he did.
“The thing about working with clay is that you work alone. But when it comes to glass, you need to work as a team,” Ryser explained, who studied glass and clay art at Eastern Oregon prior to his time at Moline High School. “As a coach at Moline, I was always about encouraging teamwork.”
Ryser soon found a glass shop in Rock Island where he worked with at-risk kids and their parents for two years, teaching them the importance of working together to create beautiful art. Once the shop closed, he realized his love for glass blowing was still strong and set forth to open his own studio in his home garage.
While in the process of remodeling the garage at home, Ryser received a call from his son, Logan, who just so happened to come across a large garage space available in downtown Davenport. “After we saw the space, we knew we could turn it in to something great,” Ryser commented, “and it had enough room to bring the equipment in that we needed.”
But alas, such an endeavor was not to come at the snap of a finger. From furnaces to windows to art materials and more, Hot Glass received support from several local businesses eager to help the nonprofit organization, and all those involved with it, succeed.
“All of this is done through donations,” Ryser noted, “and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of our local community members.”
Since opening, Hot Glass has served over 40 at-risk students with glass-blowing classes and Ryser continues to emphasize the importance of teamwork. From trophies to holiday décor, the students work as teams to create pieces of art for various community members.
“The glass community is all about sharing work and ideas, being willing to cooperate, and creating avenues for everyone to get better,” Ryser explained. “You need a team to produce these products, and that’s what we try to teach these kids, the importance of working together.”
To keep classes free for the students, Hot Glass also offers classes to the broader community. Whether a business is looking for a teambuilding opportunity or a couple is looking for a chance to build on their relationship, Hot Glass has a class for anyone interested in trying something new.
As for the future of Hot Glass, Ryser has quite a few ideas up his sleeve. He hopes to host more classes for both students and businesses. Similarly, he hopes to do commission work for businesses in the Quad Cities to build relationships, bring beauty to the region, and provide further opportunities for at-risk students to grow.
For more information on Hot Glass, head to their website at www.HotGlassArt.org or visit the shop at 104 Western Ave. in downtown Davenport.
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