Pontiac glass art studio in the midst of crowdfunding campaign for major expansion

Despite her need for more space, glass artist April Wagner has decided the last thing she wants to do is leave Pontiac.

Wagner runs and operates epiphany studios from a quiet stretch of Orchard Lake Road, and has so since 1997. She’s outgrowing her hot glass studio and gallery, however, and is heading toward a major $350,000 expansion.

To help with those costs, Wagner launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in early September. She reached the initial goal of $25,000 in just four days. She now has a stretch goal of $75,000 and has just until 12 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 30 to reach it.

While the initial $25,000 will go toward necessities like site plans, water run-off infrastructure, and more, the additional money will allow Wagner to install solar panels. She also will use the money to offer programming for students in the Pontiac school system, inviting them into her studio to see what glass blowing is all about.

"There has been so much art funding cut in our schools. Any time students come to the studio they’re so fascinated by glass blowing," Wagner says.

"If you never see something being done, you don’t know what’s available to you."

Wagner runs two businesses from epiphany studios. The first, epiphany, is her craft line of gift pieces and functional items. The second is the April Wagner Line, large works of art made from glass.

While her recent focus has seen a roughly 50-50 split among the two lines, Wagner is looking to focus more on her April Wagner Line of larger works. She estimates an 80-20 split in favor of art vs. crafts.

That’s why she’s building a 2,600 sq. ft. expansion for her studio, complete with 26 ft. ceilings and the infrastructure necessary for such an operation.

"Glassblowing is a craft. After so many years doing it, I want to investigate the more artistic side of it," Wagner says.

"I’ve been wanting to do this for years. I have a ton of ideas pent up inside of me that I want to create for people."

View Wagner’s Kickstarter campaign online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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