Glass Studio / Painting & Drawing Instructor
Tracy Kirchmann currently teaches glass sculpture at The Little Black Pearl and Options Charter School in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood. She completed her MFA in Sculpture from Western Carolina University in December of 2010, and graduated with honors.
As a graduate student, she served as a graduate assistant at the Jackson County Green Energy Park. At the Green Energy Park Tracy helped design and build the green glass studio, which is powered by alternative energy and the methane from the park’s landfill. Recently, Ms. Kirchmann taught the first university glass sculpture glass to run on land fill gas, through Western Carolina University. She also helped to develop and implement programming to teach inexpensive, public glass classes in the surrounding community. These classes are designed to increase awareness of alternative energy, promote glass as an art material, and to build community. She also organized visiting artist demonstrations and workshops featuring internationally known glass artists, which were hosted at the Green Energy Park.
Ms. Kirchmann also built a landfill gas foundry at the Jackson County Green Energy Park with Baltimore sculptor, Christian Benefiel. Benefiel and Kirchmann co-taught a foundry workshop to WCU students, in conjunction with the inaugural pour. This metal pour was the first instance of the use of land fill gas, to fuel an art foundry in the world.
Community service and community organizing have been a huge part of her work at Jackson County Green Energy Park as a graduate student. Tracy has been intensely involved in developing partnerships with the GEP, and Western Carolina University, to resulting in benefits to both entities. She believes in the ability of art to unify communities, solidify local identity, and as an essential attribute of human culture.
Ms. Kirchmann has received numerous scholarships and awards for her work in sculpture. In 2009 she received an Honorable Mention in the International Sculpture Center’s 2009 International Award for Excellence in Student Sculpture Competition. This winter she will participate as a finalist in Urban Glass’s National Glass MFA Competition in Brooklyn, New York.
Her work in the field of alternative energy came as a necessity, in her pursuit of the creation of her glass and metal sculpture. As a result of her research and development, in 2009 she was asked to speak at both the Glass Art Society Conference in Portland, Oregon and the National Iron Conference at Sloss Furnaces. She is dedicated to furthering the study of alternative energy in the preservation of all fire arts. She is committed to her arts community and serves as the International Student Representative on the Board of Directors for the International Glass Art Society. During her term on the Board of Directors, she contributed as a writer for the bi-monthly newsletter as well as serving on Education and Membership Committees.
She graduated with a BFA in glass from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. While pursuing a degree at SIUC, she interned under Jan Thomas and Cameron Smith of The Douglass School Art Place. Tracy has benefited as both a student and teacher’s assistant at Pilchuck Glass School. She has worked for many glass artists studios throughout the country from Branson, Missouri to Asheville, North Carolina. She has had the opportunity to work with many gifted artists, students and teachers, for which she is grateful.