Pearl River Glass Studio | pearl river glass studio | Midtown Development
Stained Glass and Art Architectural Glass
stained glass, fused glass art, kiln-formed glass, pearl river glass studio, andy young, midtown jackson, small business, glass, art, jackson, mississippi, water jet services, glass class, restoration, church, studio artist, traditional, prgs, glass art
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Midtown Development

Midtown Jackson is a historical district of housing for working class families and the first industrial and wholesale commercial district along the railroad yard north of downtown. Midtown is being reborn with an artist district and neighborhood housing and the addition of the city’s first charter school.

 

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Midtown Partners, Inc. and Gulf Coast Housing Partnership are underway on a $9.7 million dollar investment in 31 units of high quality affordable housing spanning a five block area of Midtown. Midtown Partners is a local nonprofit 501 C3 that is central to planning and implementation of the neighborhood revitalization.

 

The Kresge Foundation has funded a full time position ably filled by Whitney Grant, Creative Economies Coordinator, to spur the creative economy in the Millsaps Ave. Artist’s district. The Else School of Management of Millsaps College is also on board with Midtown Partners to provide management training and technical assistance in the Midtown revival.

 

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The Business Association of Midtown, BAM, was formed by artist run businesses to further the objectives of the “Made in Midtown” theme. BAM sponsors the annual Holiday Studio Tours and several other events throughout the year. The entire metro Jackson area participates in these and other events such as FIGMENT Jackson.

 

 

MidtownReversed_web_RGBPearl River Glass Studio has been a part of the Midtown renaissance from the very beginning. Andrew Cary Young moved his studio from North State Street to Millsaps Avenue in 1976, becoming the pioneer. Susan Ford, a hot glass artist, followed in 1984. Ford’s arrival in Midtown was followed by Chip and Debra Billips. Later in the 80’s and early 90’s the Billips purchased and renovated four additional properties along Millsaps Avenue. From the early years Young remembers a quiet day in Midtown during the holidays when he got in his car and drove around the few block making notes of all the available building space and vacant buildings. Artists need to have spaces at a reasonable cost in order to work. It occurred to him at the time this space could be an art district.

Fast forward to today.   PRGS just completed a $1M investment in its facility on Millsaps Avenue. Two blocks away on Mill Street, Lucky Town Brewery just opened a $1.5 million adaptive reuse facility and is canning its Ballistic Blonde, Flare Incident, Lucky Town Pub Ale and Hop Fiasco named brews, all with a narrative story for their names.

 

Midtown Partners is leading the way with the HUB? providing assistance to new entrepreneurs. This includes the Hatch, a creative economy business incubator, recently opened on Kenner Street. Their business plan calls for an additional $250K renovation its 11,000 sq. ft. of space and to create more lease units for start-ups. Around the corner is the Hanger, 23,000 sq. ft. of total space, 10% so far in artist start-ups. The Midtown artist district is proof of the adage – what you believe you can achieve.

 

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From the earliest the studio has been interested in melting glass in a kiln. If it was glass we wanted to experiment with it in the kiln to see what possible, and what was next. Tom Crouch, our design manager, is credited with the first kiln formed glass pieces. The first production was in Christmas tree ornaments. From that time 35 years ago we have done a new ornament design each year. From the experience gained from something small we took small steps along the way to reach where we are today. The 2012 Business Plan expansion was primarily about expanding our facility so that we could add larger kilns to do even larger projects. The additional space allowed us to have room for a water jet glass cutting machine. The commitment in resources and talent to kiln formed glass as an architectural art glass medium is for real.

 

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