Two of Philadelphia’s most noted art collectors and patrons, Laurie Wagman and the late Irvin J. Borowsky, were looking for a philanthropic way to support one of their favorite media, glass art, as well as a way to provide opportunity and empowerment for the next generation of artists in Philadelphia. That search eventually led them to the Tyler School of Art at Temple University.
"One of the reasons we love and have supported glass is its vitality,” notes Wagman. “There is an energy about glass that we admire. Temple really embodies that. Also, Temple has committed itself to an astounding facility for art. The Tyler School of Art is expansive; it's state-of-the-art. It says to Tyler's students, 'We respect the area where you work; we respect the artist.'"
"And the fact that Temple is a state institution with a tradition of access was one of the strongest attractions for us,” added Borowsky. “We believed in opportunity."
So Wagman and Borowksy settled on a gift totaling more than $1 million to the Tyler School of Art to promote the study and creation of glass art. To honor the gift, one of the largest known given to a college glass program, Tyler's glass facility has been named the Irvin Borowsky Glass Studio. The donation also will support a visiting artists program called the Laurie Wagman Fund in Glass Art. "The Visiting Artists Program is an incredible gift to our students and our program," O'Mara said. "This gives us the opportunity to bring internationally renowned artists to Tyler to share their experience and their work, and to inspire a new generation of glass artists." In addition, Borowsky and Wagman are giving Tyler three works from their renowned collection of glass art.
"This is an historic gift for Temple's Center for the Arts, the Tyler School of Art and its Glass Program," says Robert T. Stroker, Dean and Vice Provost for the Arts. "Irv Borowsky and Laurie Wagman are visionaries. Once again, they have found a way to make a profound difference in the world of glass art. Their generosity will impact generations of future student artists."
"The Visiting Artists Program is an incredible gift to our students and our program," says Associate Professor Sharyn O'Mara, head of Tyler's Glass Program. "This gives us the opportunity to bring internationally renowned artists to Tyler to share their experience and their work, and to inspire a new generation of glass artists."
"It's thrilling that we can influence young, creative minds,” says Borowksy. “The artists that Tyler trains in the glass studio are people who deserve support."
Adds Wagman: "We're proud of the momentum of the Philadelphia arts scene — both the visual and the performing arts. If we're going to leave an imprint, this is the place."