A Glass student working in the hot shop

At RISD students approach glass as both an artist’s material with remarkable expressive range and a studio discipline imbued with limitless potential, incorporating sculpture, architecture, design, craft and decorative art. Both undergraduate and graduate students in Glass discover an open, flexible and expansive studio discipline built on a unique history that dovetails with rapidly expanding dialogues defining innovation and creative practice. The department emphasizes a commitment to both material and conceptual investigations of glass, helping students to refine an individual perspective through disciplined experimentation and rigorous critical inquiry.​

Degree programs

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

As a major in the Glass BFA program, you will develop the wide range of skills you need to create well-made conceptual and functional objects, and discover the limitless possibilities of the versatile, dynamic medium of glass.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The Glass MFA program provides the context for you to realize your own creative vision through research, experimentation and constant exploration of glass as a historically rich, culturally significant material.

Post-baccalaureate (Post-B)

Offering both conceptual and technical concentration tracks, the post-baccalaureate in Glass is an immersive, one-year program that lets you pursue a personally meaningful experience with the medium.

In the studio

Both undergraduate and graduate students have full access to a hot shop, cold shop, kiln and casting rooms. In addition, all students are given individual studio spaces and access to refined installation spaces both within the department and elsewhere on campus.

Featured stories

Getting Conceptual in the Hot Shop

Students in a fall Glass studio taught by Sean Salstrom use movement and choreography as a starting point for experimentation.

Jes Fan: The Artist Probing the Intersections of Biology, Identity and Creativity

Multidisciplinary artist and RISD alum Jes Fan uses fungi, bacteria and hormones to produce thought-provoking sculptures.

Record Number of RISD Fulbrights

Seven artists and designers will advance cross-cultural dialogue across Europe and Asia during the 2022–23 academic year.  

Student work

detail of prismatic glass sculpture

Based on the strength of their experience at RISD, Glass alumni tend to remain closely connected with the department. Whether returning as visiting artists and critics or providing internships for current students, they help influence subsequent generations. Accomplished alumni such as Dale Chihuly, Dan Clayman, Karen Lamonte, Judith Schaechter, Tavares Strachan, Bohyun Yoon, Toots Zynsky and many others continue to push the boundaries of the medium and make enormous contributions to advancing the role of glass in contemporary art and design.​

Alumni at work

Josiah McElheny BFA 89 | studio artist

Multimedia artist and 2006 MacArthur Award winner Josiah McElheny is fascinated with space, time and the notions of infinity and purity. While at RISD in the mid-1980s, he studied in Rome through the school’s European Honors Program and worked with master glassblowers such as Ronald Wilkins in London. McElheny now lives and works in Brooklyn, where he’s represented by James Cohan Gallery.

Anjali Srivivasan MFA 07 | studio artist

Glass artist Anjali Srinivasan creates provocative original works that are shown worldwide, from New York and New Delhi to Seattle and Sydney, Australia, among many other locations. A member of the Glass faculty at MassArt, she has also taught at the famed Pilchuck Glass School, an international center for glass art in Seattle, WA, founded in 1971 by fellow alumnus Dale Chihuly. Srinivasan also creates work on commission and has traveled the world to teach workshops, offer demonstrations, speak about her research and serve as a visiting artist and critic for a wide range of cultural organizations.

Tavares Strachan BFA 03 | multidisciplinary artist

Born in the Bahamas and based in NYC, Tavares Strachan is known for exploring environment, materials and the limits of the human body in his work. He often works on a massive scale, harvesting a 4.5-ton block of ice from the Arctic Circle for The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want and “showing” nine years of work in a 20,000-sf industrial space for the closed exhibition seen/unseen. Continually challenging the idea that place delimits identity and experience, Strachan represented the Bahamas at the 55th Venice Biennale with the multi-sensory Polar Eclipse, an installation documenting his voyage to the North Pole.

heating up tools inside the Glass hot shop