WA Governor’s Arts Awards 2023

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The Washington State Governor’s Arts and Heritage Awards, announced in late November 2023, included two glass artists this year – Lino Tagliopietra and Ginny Ruffner both won Individual Awards.

These are very prestigious awards. According to the press release from ArtsWA, “Established in 1966, the Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards are the highest honor bestowed by the Governor’s office for accomplishments in arts and culture.”

“These awards are a true community celebration,” said Karen Hanan, Executive Director of ArtsWA. “Nominations poured in from across the state with a clear message: Washington is home to outstanding artists, organizations, and culture bearers that deserve to stand up and be recognized. Their work enriches our communities and enlivens the entire state.”

Originally from Murano, Italy, Lino Tagliapietra is a world renowned glass artist who has had a huge influence on the world of art glass in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. In 1979, Dale Chihuly invited him to the Pilchuck Glass School where he introduced students to the traditions of Venetian glassblowing. Tagliapietra continues to teach and mentor hundreds of artists. He played a key role in laying the foundation for the American Studio Glass movement. His work is displayed internationally as well as in his Seattle showroom.

Ginny Ruffner is a pioneering American glass artist based in Seattle, Washington, with a wide range of work. From lampworking to painted glass sculptures incorporating borosilicate glass, Ruffner has pushed the boundaries of glass art, even venturing into the world of augmented reality. Her public art installations can be found across the Pacific Northwest, including at the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. Ruffner has inspired, mentored, taught, and supported hundreds of other artists both on her own and through SOLA, the nonprofit organization she founded which recognizes and rewards mature women artists.

Congratulations to both Tagliopietra and Ruffner! Both of these amazing artists have pioneered new techniques and styles, helping make Washington State an international hub for glass art. It is exciting to see fellow glass artists and the medium we love honored and celebrated in this way.