More than 400 glass pieces from artists around the world are on display as part of Habatat Galleries’ 50th anniversary exhibit.

More than 400 glass pieces from artists around the world are on display as part of Habatat Galleries’ 50th anniversary exhibit.

Photo provided by Linda Ashley


Habatat Galleries celebrates 50 years with free exhibition

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published September 23, 2021

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ROYAL OAK — Since first opening its doors in 1971, the studio glass gallery now known as Habatat Galleries in Royal Oak has seen a definitive shift in the way glass art is perceived during its 50-year tenure.

The 13,000-square-foot showroom is now hosting a free exhibition featuring over 400 pieces from some of the most talented glass artists in the world. Admission is free, and the exhibition will be on display through Oct. 31.

At the age of 23, Ferdinand Hampson co-founded the original gallery with his sister and brother-in-law on Telegraph Road in Dearborn. Since then, Habatat Galleries has grown to become the largest and oldest art gallery dedicated to glass in the U.S.

Hampson said the first college course in glass was offered at the University of Wisconsin in 1963, and since then, the world of contemporary glass has grown from mostly blown glass to constantly evolving ways of working with glass. New techniques include cast, slumped, fused, flamed and laminated glass art.

“People (originally) involved with studio glass were the outsiders — not accepted or recognized by the fine art combine of museums, galleries, collectors and art publications,” he said. “What allowed galleries involved with glass to develop were an almost cult-like crop of collectors and a very talented group of makers that had the audacity to think of themselves as artists.”

What warranted Habatat’s eventual success as a curator and gallery, he said, was “promotion, innovation and a willingness to exhibit the riskiest concepts that artists had to offer.” Habatat Galleries has orchestrated more than 100 museum and art center exhibitions globally, many which have set record attendance, and produced a prolific amount of literature on the medium of studio glass, including 25 major catalogues, five books and 50 artist exhibition catalogues. It has also presented over 400 exhibits of studio glass in its galleries.

In 2013, Hampson’s sons, Aaron Schey and Corey Hampson, took over daily operations.

“This is an important milestone for Habatat and for the medium of glass. And so we thought it was important to share it with the community at large and our hometown,” Schey said. “It is a reunion of the artists followed by an opportunity for the public to see, in person, the latest work coming out of the glass community.”

Ferdinand said he is most proud of the exposure and interest in studio glass art he was able to foster around the globe in international citizens from all walks of life, specifically in Mexico, China and Taiwan.

In lieu of attending the exhibition in person, the virtual 50th anniversary exhibition will be available to view online at glassartfair.com.

Masks are recommended while inside the gallery.

Habatat Galleries is located at 4400 Fernlee Ave., near 14 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway. Business hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

For more information or to schedule a private tour, visit habatat.com or call (248) 554-0590.

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