School of Art alumnus Percy Echols II ’15 shares how gifts made to the Glass Scholarship made an impact on his time at Illinois State University and led to his current opportunities:

During my time at Illinois State University, I received several awards and grants, yet the most impactful were the Friends of the Arts Grants and Pilchuck Partner Scholarship.

I applied for both the Individual and Group Friends of the Arts Grants, which allowed me to create and fund the 2014 Opportunities in Glass Trip for intermediate and advanced glass students. On this trip, we visited four studios in order to expose students to traditional and contemporary glass history, network for professional studio glass positions, and explore resources for expanded education. One of our stops was the Pittsburgh Glass Center.

The Pilchuck Partner Scholarship is offered by the Department head of the glass program, John Miller, and is a merit-based scholarship that allows studio glass majors to take a tuition-free summer workshop at the Pilchuck Glass School. Following the workshop, participating students prepare a presentation and demonstrate what they have learned to the department. This opportunity led me to take a course in interactive light in 2014 that introduced plasma and neon light into my work, which led to my current project, Taming Lighting.

I graduated in 2015 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in studio glass. Shortly following graduation, I moved to Pittsburgh to be a studio technician apprentice at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. Currently, I’m the Independent Contractor for Plasma and Neon Light Development and the first recipient of the Ron Desmett Award for Imagination in Glass and residency at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. These highlights are a result of the available opportunities that the Glass Program and department grants and scholarships at the School of Art have provided me. I consider the Pilchuck Partner Scholarship to have been the primary influence on the development of my current position and residency at Pittsburgh Glass Center.

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