Glass is a unique artistic medium. It’s a medium that was appreciated, understood, embraced, and celebrated by Glass Alliance-New Mexico board member Jerry Silverstein, who passed away on August 15 at the age of 85.
Jerry didn’t just collect studio glass; he also curated and nurtured the artists who were the creators and originators and innovators of that glass art. Jerry understood, as few do, that glass doesn’t reflect only light; it is also a profound and intimate reflection of the individual who conceives and shapes each work. He understood that even two “identical” pieces by the same artist are different in subtle ways that mirror the unique time and place in which the piece was created.
Studio glass can’t speak, so Jerry became its advocate. Glass Alliance-New Mexico had the good fortune to have Jerry as a long-time member, former president, and guiding light. The culmination of Jerry’s advocacy was his founding of the GANM maestro program, which brought more than 100 glass artists to New Mexico over the span of a decade, enabling other artists and collectors to hear what Jerry knew was important—the stories of the individuals who are glass artists and the ways in which these artists engage with sources of inspiration and then translate that engagement into works that elicit emotional reactions in viewers.
For maestro program artists, Jerry was the consummate host, tour guide, information hub, talent scout, and introducer. Many of today’s renowned names in studio glass found their first gallery representation through an introduction by Jerry; many galleries found emerging talents that they now feature in the same way.
Jerry Silverstein was a Chicago native. He had a degree in psychology, a career in vocational rehabilitation, and a love of creativity. He and husband Bob Zimmerman shared a long and devoted relationship, first in Chicago and from 2008 on in Santa Fe where they took full advantage of the closely-woven web of creativity that defines “the city different.” Jerry promptly became a member of the GANM board, eventually serving as its president.
Like the medium of which he was enamored, Jerry Silverstein reflected light. His life has concluded, but that life will continue to illuminate the lives and works of the artists he knew, the collectors he encouraged, and the medium he loved.
Rest in Peace, Jerry. You will be missed.