The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

96° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Philabaum Glass Studio is pricey but worth it

    Justice Amarillas
    Art on display at the glass art exhibiton at Philabaum Glass Gallery and Studio on Sixth Avenue on Tuesday, March 8. Tom Philabaum’s art is made on site and sold in the gallery.

    If you’re looking for a vibrant art indulgence that will blow you away, then take a chance on Philabaum Glass Gallery and Studio.

    Philabaum serves as an artistic portal for UA art majors and local craft enthusiasts. The gallery, conveniently located on Sixth Avenue, provides the downtown Tucson area with displays of glass works by artists from all around the nation.

    Philabaum Glass Gallery and Studio opened in Tucson in 1985 with the hope of presenting a wonderful artistic experience. Owner Tom Philabaum hoped to give the Tucson community an entirely new perspective.

    While the studio showcased a rather small atmosphere, the entire ambiance emitted intimate vibes. The walls—decorated with white paper—featured a more vivid background in order to better present the artwork. Colors bounced off the corners, presenting a flashy experience for all those who viewed it. Local redundant art enthusiast Daniel Bell expressed his past experiences with the gallery.

    “I have been coming to Philabaum’s for awhile now,” Bell said. “I obviously can’t afford these artworks; they can get higher than $3,500 a piece. But … I love the arts. I come here to watch Tom and his assistants heat and mold the glass. It’s quite an experience.”

    Philabaum ships glass works from over 50 different artists from all over the country with the help of his foundation and wonderful staff. Apart from exhibiting other works by other artists, Philabaum sells his own handmade works in the gallery as well.

    The current outside exhibition, “California Dreamin’,” features the works of four glass artists from California. These artists create their works in their studios in California and then ship it to Philabaum, who presents the glass wonderworld to Tusconans. The exhibition opened Feb. 6 and will continue until May 28.

    Gallery manager Allison Harvey provided an insight into the exhibition.

    “As you see here, we do not just carry glass art that is blown,” Harvey said. “We also carry fuse, cast, flamework, glass with copper and all different styles that are made in small studio settings.”

    Harvey also said that now, all of Philabaum’s pieces are made in the studio. The gallery has a window looking into the studio, which allows audiences to view the glassworks being made.

    The staff focuses on their work intently, ignoring those passing by. The assistants heat the works at a temperature of about 2,025 degrees Fahrenheit using molten clear glass.

    The high prices of the works don’t agree with a student budget, but if you find yourself winning the lottery one day, consider investing in one of these art pieces. “Sapphire Oval with Jellyfish Lid” by Rick Satava presents a frighteningly realistic look.

    Pima radiology sophomore Michael Warren expressed curiosity for this piece.

    “I swore it looked like an [actual] jellyfish living in an aquatic tank,” Warren said. “The precise detail adds a life-like decoration to the piece. If you look at the piece from different angles, you see the different colors and details that make the fish look like it’s swimming.”

    The entire display showcased an artistic experience unlike any other. Philabaum’s “California Dreamin’” exhibit acts as a portal into world of glass art. The gallery perfects the art of glassblowing, while adding its own unique input. UA students and local groups should check out this once-in-a-lifetime experience despite the high prices.

    Follow Sammy Cherukuri on Twitter.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search