Glass sculpture to grace Snohomish High library

SNOHOMISH — Snohomish High School alumnus Sean Kelly had a blast at his 25th class reunion. With help from extra heat at the August event, Kelly and the rest of the 1988 graduating class will give their alma mater a thing of beauty.

The Aug. 3 reunion was held at Everett’s Schack Art Center. During the reunion, glass artist John Kiley and his team created a sculpture for the school. Kiley is the Schack’s glass director.

“Red and Black Overlap” will be dedicated at 6 tonight in the Snohomish High School library, just before the Panthers’ 7 p.m. homecoming football game against Arlington High School. The artwork is in keeping with the school’s colors, red and white.

Snohomish High School Principal Beth Porter said Thursday that graduating classes sometimes make gifts to the school. The sculpture is the first donation she has seen from a reunion class. The public is welcome at the library tonight to see the piece, which will eventually be housed in a case, she said.

Kelly was on the reunion committee that planned the gift along with their celebration. “We had a lot of fun. I would really encourage other reunion committees to consider doing something like this,” he said. Kelly lives in the Shoreline area, but works as a financial adviser in downtown Everett, near the Schack Art Center.

“The reunion was in the Schack gallery space. John Kiley and his team blew the piece there. I’ve known John for years and admired his work,” said Kelly. “We had a blast at the reunion.”

Kiley, represented by the Traver Gallery in Seattle, said the piece for Snohomish High has a market value of about $10,000. The class of ‘88 made donations, and Kiley said he and his team contributed time and talent.

A glass blower for more than two decades, Kiley, 40, has worked at the Museum of Glass and for famed glass artist Dale Chihuly. “I’m used to people watching me work,” he said.

Creating “Red and Black Overlap” involved two teams blowing the red and black pieces separately but simultaneously. “When we fused the two sections, it was an all-or-nothing moment,” Kiley said. Timing and temperature had to be perfect.

Kiley likes the idea of a piece of fine art in a high school.

“Art programs in schools keep getting cut, but art is incredibly important. A high school art program changed my life — ceramics in particular,” said Kiley, who went to Seattle’s Franklin High. “Students may see this and be inspired.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

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