Honorees Bob and Shelby Ford are joined by Gwen Borowsky and Arlene Silver at the National Liberty Museum awards reception and dinner., where the Fords were honored for their devotion to glass sculpture and their support of the museum and its mission. Photo: Bonnie Squires
— by Bonnie Squires
What do you do when your world-class glass scupture collection outgrows your residence? If your name is Irv Borowsky, you buy an historic former bank building in Philadelphia and transform it into the National Liberty Museum. You commission Dale Chihuly to create a four-story glass chandelier which indicates the flame of revolution and the fragility of freedom. And then you hold an annual Glass Art Weekend & Auction Gala, and you honor supporters of the museum who are themselves connoisseurs of glass sculpture. This year's awards reception and dinner honored Shelby and Bob Ford and Inna and Alex Friedman. Artist Therman Statom, who does unique things with glass, was also honored.
Irv Borowsky, founder of the National Liberty Museum, and his wife Laurie Wagman greeted guests at the awards reception at the museum. Photo: Bonnie Squires
Patrons of the National Liberty Museum, including Herb and Phyllis Victor, and Rhea and Dr. Morton Mandell, came to pay tribute to their friends who were the evening's honorees. Photo: Bonnie Squires
The Museum houses one of the world's most important collections of contemporary glass art to make the point that freedom is beautiful and strong, like glass, but also extremely fragile. Through this unique metaphor, students learn that it is their responsibility to protect our nation's heritage of freedom by making good and productive choices in their everyday lives.
Over 400,000 young people from the Philadelphia region and beyond have visited the Museum since it opened its doors in the year 2000. Building on that success, the Museum created character education outreach initiatives that bring its message directly to area middle schools. One such program, the highly successful "Young Heroes Outreach Program," is funded by the proceeds of the National Liberty Museum's Glass Art Weekend & Auction Gala. The money raised provides staffing, computers, lesson plans and classroom materials. It also goes to forming a "Young Heroes Club" at each school, which empowers the students to identify and solve real-life problems they face in their school and community.
The National Liberty Museum is grateful to the many collectors and artists who recognize their connection to the Museum's mission by generously donating and purchasing work at the auction. The glass art community has been a major supporter of the Museum from the very beginning and will certainly continue to be a factor in the Museum's success in the years to come.
The National Liberty Museum is located in historic Philadelphia at 321 Chestnut St. It is open 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday and 12-6 pm on Sunday. Hours extend to 7 days a week during the summer months. The facility is fully wheelchair accessible.
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