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May 2011

The Bascom in Highlands, NC, Offers Works by Richard Ritter and More

The Bascom, A Center for the Visual Arts in Highlands, NC, will present the exhibit, Richard Ritter: Glass, on view from May 20 through June 26, 2011.

Each piece of glass in this presentation captures a moment in Ritter’s eventful career. As a young man, Ritter was involved in the growth of the American studio glass movement and studied with many of the early artists leading the way. Today, he continues to inspire and influence as an artist and teacher. This exhibition, traveling to Highlands, will include current and retrospective works by Ritter beginning in the 1960s.

Richard Ritter was born in Detroit, MI, in 1940. Inspired to pursue a career in art by his high school art teacher, he enrolled in the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit. Trained as a graphic illustrator, Ritter eventually ended up back at the Society of Arts and Crafts where he taught Advertising and Design.

In 1969, he had his first exposure to hot glass when he helped a fellow instructor, Gil Johnson, to build a glass furnace at the school. Ritter was immediately motivated to begin a career in glass as one of the pioneers of the Studio Glass Movement in the United States.

Ritter first came to North Carolina in 1974 to attend a three week summer session in glass at Penland School of Crafts. He returned in 1975 to teach at Penland and then moved down to NC permanently to start an artist-in-residency in glass at the school. In 1981, he settled in Bakersville where he built the studio that he continues to work out of today with his wife, fellow artist Jan Williams.

Ritter’s work is included in public and private collections around the world….most notably in the collections of: The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, the Corning Museum of Glass, The Mint Museum, and the Museum of Art and Design in New York City. Ritter’s work can also be found in the Permanent Collection of the Vice President’s Residence in Washington, DC, and his work was also included in the first permanent White House Crafts Collection.

Ritter has been a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship grant and his work has been included in multiple exhibitions of prestigious art centers and museums. He has recently been honored with a traveling retrospective exhibition, Richard Ritter: 40 Years in Glass.

Also on view at The Bascom, is Southeastern Outdoor Sculpture Invitational, on view from May 20 through Apr. 1, 2012. The exhibit presents works by five nationally recognized artists from the Southeastern United States, working in the field of contemporary sculpture. The works have been installed in various locations around The Bascom campus. Visitors will be able to enjoy these awe-inspiring works and cast a vote for the People’s Choice. While viewing these works, you may also want to check out, Do Tell, a environmental sculpture installation by NC’s Patrick Dougherty.

Also on view is the exhibit, The American Still Life: Yesterday and Today, on display through July 4, 2011. The exhibit is a competition which will include a combination of works by contemporary American artists selected by our juror, as well as historical still life examples borrowed from museums.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Center at 828/526-4949 or visit (


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