BRIAN FRUS BIO
I am an artist and an educator. I started working with glass in 1996 and have loved the medium and the community that surrounds it ever since. I currently create and teach from my home in Ellsworth, Maine. Notably, I was Head of the Glass Art program at Jacksonville University for 13 years, and I held leadership positions at two prestigious public access glass schools – I was the Director of Education at UrbanGlass in New York City, and the Assistant Facilities Manager and Shop Coordinator at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. My BFA is from Jacksonville University and my MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology; both degrees in Studio Arts with concentrations in Glass. I am an active member of the Glass Art Society.
I started blowing glass by taking a fun “Learn to Blow Glass” workshop with my dad. We were instantly hooked, and my younger brother soon joined us as we registered for more courses. I was challenged by the molten material, awed by the intensity of heat, and captivated by the fiery dance that is the glassblowing process. After a family vacation to the Glass Art Society conference, my world opened up to encompass an international community of amazing artists working with glass. During college, I helped an artist build a glassblowing studio and worked as his assistant. To expand my education and experience in Glass Art, I pursued a Master’s degree at RIT. After graduation, I began work at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. For over 3 years I taught lessons and classes, worked with world renowned visiting artists, and maintained the specialty equipment and facilities at PGC. I took a sabbatical from PGC to become a Visiting Assistant Professor in Glass, and that led into a second year appointment causing me to break from PGC. After my teaching appointment concluded, I became the Director of Education at UrbanGlass. After 2 years in NYC, I was hired by my alma mater, Jacksonville University, as the full time faculty to replace my retiring Professor. I now oversee the Glass Art program at JU. Along my journey I have had wonderful opportunities to make and exhibit my artwork, teach and interact with people, and forge strong bonds in the international community of artists.
I have always been aware of the relationship Jacksonville has with the St. John’s River. I have memories of kayaking through brackish marshland and seeing the diverse and beautiful eco-system the river boasts. With River Table, I created an environment that depicts the progression from fresh water into brackish water into salt water as the river empties into the ocean. There is tension between the surface of the river and the hidden life underneath – River Table seeks to examine what the eye sees in both worlds. Most of my work is inspired by nature: organic structures and forms which mirror the symmetries found around us. The narrative of the St. John’s River is full of balance. Learning the specific species found in varying parts of the river infused my sculptural elements with regionally accurate plants and animals. I create to understand the complex and sublime nuances of the natural world around me.