For planners seeking new and novel ways for corporate employees to bond, it can be difficult to get past “been there, done that” reactions. One team-building idea activity option sure to generate energy and interest: glass blowing.
Public Glass, a nonprofit arts organization in the Bayview/Hunter’s Point district of San Francisco, offers a full curriculum of glass courses taught by local and nationally recognized artists, as well as corporate experiences in which attendees focus on teamwork, problem solving and creativity to forge their own pieces of glass art.
The studio typically accommodates groups of 6-18 but can host up to 200. “Corporate groups really love it,” says Executive Director Nate Watson. “The environment in an art studio is so different than a corporate environment. It’s very visual. Working with hot glass is all about chemistry, physics, how gravity moves the medium, all these things that have to come into focus with people working together. People leave feeling sold on this idea that members of a group can support one another and take on things that are very foreign. They’re able to relate to it in ways they didn’t think they would. It’s very illuminating.”
In a typical, three-hour session ($85 per person) for groups of up to 18, participants gather glass from the furnace and make paperweights or flowers. Six-hour sessions ($185) lead to the creation of hand-blown cups. Larger groups can book live, interactive demonstrations, as well as hands-on studio experiences that utilize the fusing and flameworking studios as well as the blowing studio.
Public Glass has proven especially popular with Bay Area tech groups, says Watson, pointing to a client roster that includes Apple, Genentech, Google, Square, Airbnb, 23 and Me, Pinterest, Yelp, Twitter, Facebook and Adobe, in addition to many scientific research corporations and health-service providers.
“There’s so much interchange between art and technology and the sciences,” Watson notes. “The exchange we have is critical and crucial for us as artists, and we hope it also benefits people going the other way.”