photos by Tom Holding & Dave Woeller
ArtC is proud to announce our curated exhibit Shattered: Portrait of a Glass Factory will be featured at the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts in Millville this September starting with an opening reception on September 21st.
The exhibit will feature fine art photos by Tom Holding and Dave Woeller taken in the now abandoned Wheaton Glass factories in Millville, NJ. It will also be the premiere of the ArtC documentary of the same name that will highlight the work by these two artists, give a voice to some of the people who worked at Wheaton’s and hopefully tell a compelling story of an industry that grew a city. The footage and photos are both stunning and disturbing.
In a 2001 feature for our magazine artBeat, writer Rob Laymon poetically described the birth of the glass industry in South Jersey.
‘ There was something in the woods and plains of South Jersey that seemed to build towns all by itself. Some natural matrix for civilization.
It brought people together, threw up towns. It opened shops and streets, sent the roar of factories echoing through the woods. By the dawn of national life it had already transformed a loneliness of coastal forest into a throb of industry. It did all this by its very nature, by being simply where it was in the confluence of earth, water and human aspiration.
That something was sand. Those people came to make glass.’
I was born and raised in a glass town, Millville. Most of my family, at one point or another, worked in a glass factory. I actually worked two summers in Wheaton’s hot end. My dad’s whole working life was at Wheaton’s. We lived walking distance from the plants. The roar of the factories was the background noise that gave a strange comfort to our existence. That roar has pretty much been silenced and Millville continues to struggle to replace it.
Our exhibit and documentary will be a celebration of what was, a hopeful reminder of what still can be with a somewhat somber look at what currently is. Please join on September 21st.
Thanks for listening.