Gifts for a Great Cause

The Hilltop Artists in Residence’s annual holiday sale is coming up, and though it has been happening for years it still remains one of the best opportunities for picking up some of the most unique and one-of-a-kind holiday gift items that Tacoma has to offer.

The non-profit organization, which was established with the help of famed glass artist Dale Chihuly, has been in existence for 16 years, and the glass sale has been a part of it for most of those years, according to Kathy Anderson, outreach and communications coordinator for Hilltop Artists.

“We’re a non-profit, so we do rely on other revenue streams to keep the program going and free,” Anderson said. “The glass sales represent over 20 percent of our revenue sales. We have two sales a year, the holiday and spring sale that happens in June, and then we do various other small sales throughout the year at Ethnic Fest, at Tacoma Art Museum and little ones throughout the year.”

The holiday glass sale takes place over two days, with the first event limited to VIPs only who have donated $200 or more to Hilltop Artists in 2010, which takes place Friday night.

“These individuals get to go to the sale the night before, and they have first crack at all the glass,” Anderson said. “But we also will have special performances for the VIP event. Last year we did a molten glass Christmas tree presentation and this year we have a special surprise performance. There will be food, a big silent auction featuring glass items, theater tickets and things like that. The kids in the program are always blowing glass and that’s fun too.”

For everyone else the main glass sale event takes place on Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the same venue and individuals can arrive at 9 a.m. to pick up their ticket, which tells them when to come back to check out the items. “We had a huge amount of people show up at 7:30 a.m. to get in, which is nuts,” Anderson affirmed. “The holiday glass sale is free, open to public, there will be demonstrations and people get to buy really great gifts and support youth in our community as all proceeds raised go back into the program.”

The event is the accumulation of months of work for the students involved in the program, Anderson affirmed, and as a result includes glass of many different shapes, sizes and uses.

“We fill the gymnasium, and the pieces are crafted by the production team because the kids who work in the shop during the day and after school keep their own stuff,” Anderson stated. “But the production team gets a scholarship and we get to keep their glass, as it’s geared towards sale and commission work. We also do custom and commissioned work.”

Functional, vases, bowls, cups, holiday ornaments, paperweights, pumpkins and art pieces that are sculptural, shaped like fish, flowers and more will all be available for purchase during the massive two-day sales. “Kids are doing some amazing work with higher end work this year, such as cane work, which is a different technique that yields striped vessels,” Anderson said.

The Hilltop Artists Holiday Glass Sale is free to attend and takes place Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Invitational VIP event takes place Dec. 10 from 6-8 p.m. Both sales will happen at Jason Lee Middle School’s Hot Shop and Gymnasium, located at 602 N. Sprague Ave. For more information, call (253) 571-7670, visit or “like” Hilltop Artists in Residence on Facebook.


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