Glass student Simon Waranch opens show at Dallas’ Museum of Biblical Art

3 blue speckled glass sculptures"Holocaust Memorial" by Simon Waranch
The only way Simon Waranch might experience a glass ceiling is if he made it. With two more years until he graduates in 2021, this Crafts: Glass sophomore already has the professional exposure art students dream about. On November 24, the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, Texas, will open “Glass Matters: The Emergence of Artist Simon Waranch,” and in summer 2019 the Longview Museum of Fine Arts will launch his one-man show in the main gallery. The significance of these accomplishments, particularly in an art world whose inner workings can sometimes seem out of reach, is not lost on Waranch.

“On the one hand, I’m a student and, on the other hand, I’m doing what students do when they graduate,” Waranch said about the challenges of balancing his undergraduate studies with a full-blown art career. His course work at CCS is going well, he noted, but he easily spends 15 hours a day in the studio honing his craft.

“The most important thing is skill and technique. Right now, I’m trying to use the foundation I’ve built to push myself and create new things,” explained Waranch, who also spends one day each week working with alumnus and glassmaker Matt Kolbrener.

The motivation to study glass — and the work ethic that goes with it — began while Waranch was still a student at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. On a school trip to Italy, he went to the Venetian island of Murano, home to a 700-year-old glassmaking tradition and the source of some of the most coveted art glass in the world.

“The one program Booker T. didn’t have was glass,” he noted. So Waranch took classes at a local studio. Within a month he was an apprentice, working upwards of 20-40 hours per week. Teaching soon followed, as well as working on the gallery’s production team. During his senior year, he landed his first big commissions — a local law firm, then a Chicago hotel. By freshman year at CCS, he had taken on a commission for a hotel in Baltimore.

Waranch has already had two one-man shows at Dallas’ LMB Art Glass, the first when he was only a high school senior, and his glass pieces remain among the gallery’s best sellers.

But having experienced such early success, what can possibly be next? “The most important thing for me is to get as good as I can, and being able to have access to [CCS] resources is priceless.”