Guests who’ve attended one of our annual Festa galas in past years are sure to have spotted the beautiful prints and glass pieces interpreting Tlingit cultural objects, mythologies, and concepts. These pieces, created by artist and long-time in-kind Arts Corps sponsor Preston Singletary, use a combination of glassblowing and lost wax casting to render totem poles.
When asked what motivates him to donate to Arts Corps, he replied: “Arts Corps can help inspire artists through highlighting possibilities. We all have stories of what draws us to make art, and artists sharing their stories can inspire something in individuals to endeavor to create art and share their perspectives.”
Singletary himself is an example of this truth. Having grown up in Seattle among glassblowers, he started with production glassblowing in 1982 before studying at the Pilchuck Glass School. There, he learned how artists work with the material and eventually developed the technique and style he uses today.
“The thing I love about my work is that it connects me to a deeper part of my ethnic background.”
This connection is evident. Through his many years as an artist, Singletary gained widespread notoriety, something he attributes to the personal dimensions of his pieces, the hard work required to create them, a commitment to learning and practice, and finally, to finding mentors to help along the way. 10,000 hours to master your craft or medium is very real, he explained.
As his following grew, Singletary gained the opportunity to travel and interact with different cultures, Indigenous and otherwise. “This process connects me to an older kind of thought process which I like to think of as genetic memories. The more I interact with these cultures, it informs new directions as I continue to develop my work”
Singletary’s journey is unique in that he came to his art form through practical experience, which he believes would be difficult to replicate today. However, he believes that opportunities are always there for people with a passion for art, youth, and community to carve out paths of their own.
“Everyone comes from somewhere and has a story. That story is unique to each person, it sometimes just needs to be found. Once you find that story, you need the passion and intense focus to develop it.”
We’d like to express sincere thanks to Preston Singletary Studio for its ongoing support of Arts Corps and our work in helping young people find and express their own authentic narratives.
In his last words to us, Singletary said, “As I see it, we all have a story and that is where the most honest and genuine expression comes from. So go make art!”
We couldn’t agree more.
— GRECIA LEAL PARDO, Development & Communications Coordinator