First City Art Center Welcomes New Executive Director.

After a regional and national search, First City Art Center is excited to announce that the position of Executive Director was filled in mid-February.  We want to welcome Meredith Doyen as our new Executive Director. Meredith studied Landscape Architecture at University of Georgia, and then completed her Masters Degree at Iowa State in Community and Regional Planning.  Doyen most recently worked as the Executive Director for the Island Community Center on Fishers Island, New York.  While in this position, she was instrumental in fund raising, organizing, and managing the community center. "Meredith will be bringing these skills to First City Art Center to further advance our mission and strategic plan," says FCA Board President Michael Conrad. "We have the good fortune of her recent relocation to Pensacola Beach!" "I am so happy to be able to combine so many of my favorite things into one job. With this job I am able to participate in the art world while working on community building, design and fundraising." says Doyen. "I look forward to the growth of the First City Art Center and am so excited to be a part of it."

Spring 2013 Workshops begin Mar. 5th


 PENSACOLA, FLA- First City Art Center is now accepting sign-ups for the full slate of hands-on workshops scheduled to begin Mar. 5. Pottery on the Wheel, Make Your Own Glass, Glassblowing, Glass Bead Making, Kids Pottery and Clay Sculpting workshops will be held at First City Art Center at 1060 N. Guillemard St. For information or to sign up for workshops call 850-429-1222 or visit

Casting Craze Workshop with Guest Artist Lisa Tahir

Guest artist Lisa Tahir will be at First City Art Center to offer students and patrons a one-weekend-only glass casting workshop.

A three day introductory workshop exploring the fundamentals of glass sand-casting, this is an exciting way to learn the process of pouring molten glass into open face sand molds. Day one covers production of sand models/templates used in the casting process. Day two and three concentrate on the actual casting of glass objects from which every student will make several forms.
The Process of Glass Casting - by Lisa Tahir

My process of glass casting begins with a huge furnace that burns at 2350 degrees Fahrenheit!  The furnace holds about 600 lbs. of molten hot glass.  We use recycled clear glass windshields and bottles at my studio. These broken up pieces are shoveled into the furnace and melt over the course of 24 hours into a molten consistency that pours much like the thickness of honey.  The only difference is that it is 2350 degrees Fahrenheit, much unlike honey!  I suit up in a thick leather jacket, long pants, face shield and Kevlar fireproof gloves and “scoop” molten glass out of the furnace into graphite, sand, or steel molds.  The “scoop” I use is called a ladle and weighs about 40 lbs.  Often I have to scoop 2 to 4 consecutive ladles into my molds to get the size of pieces that you see in the gallery.   From there I drop the ladle and attend to the glass which is being contained in the molds and is slowly cooling.  I have to use a torch that shots fire to keep certain edges warm as the center still holds the majority of the heat.  This process can take up to several minutes depending upon the size of the piece.  Once cooled adequately I attach the mass of glass to a 6 foot steel rod called a “punte” in Italian.  This enables me to reheat the entire piece in a glory hole.  The glory hole is a reheating chamber that burns at 2350 degrees Fahrenheit.   I can then re-melt some areas I want to manipulate and re-shape.  This process can go on for up to 2-3 hours depending on my desired result.  I work with a team 1 to 4 assistants to help me with this process.  It is hot and heavy work without any breaks.  If the glass gets too cold it shatters before my eyes, if it gets to hot it drips uncontrollably onto the floor.  At the end of the shaping process the piece is broken off of the punte with water and put into an annealing oven.  This annealing oven cools the piece from 950 degrees Fahrenheit to room temperature over about 4 days.  The piece has to cool slowly as it goes thru many chemical changes going from a liquid to a solid.  It is an act and dance of balance.  It has taken me 17 years to master this craft and process.

Learn More about artist Lisa Tahir! >

Casting Craze workshop sparks glass art creativity!

Lisa Tahir's Casting Craze workshop on Friday - Sunday, Feb. 15-17, at First City Art Center, successfully sparked the creativity of eight students who came to learn how to sand cast glass.

Friday evening was a review of all of the safety precautions of being in FCAC's hot shop. Soon thereafter, students learned how to sift the damp sand/clay mixture and prepare our sand boxes for some mold making. This indentation in the sand is where the bright orange, 2300 degree molten glass is poured to make your casting. Sounds simple enough, but in reality it's a finely tuned dance which requires timing, teamwork and experience.

Over the course of the weekend Lisa had all the students feeling safe and comfortable dipping steel ladles into the furnace to get the proper amount of glass and then carefully pouring it into our sand molds. The sculptures we created were as varied as the participants. There were brain sculptures, hand plaques, collard green bowls, single word messages, flower shaped and multi-colored stepping stones and even a fish platter formed from a freshly caught flounder! The possibilities for sand casting/sculpting glass are endless.

Looking forward to getting back into the hot shop for more fun!

Mayco Glazing Workshop a Huge Success for First City Art Potters Guild!

On February 11, 2013, First City Art Center, located at 1060 Guilemard Street, Pensacola, Florida, hosted a Mayco Glaze Workshop for 16 clay potters from the Gulfcoast area and Jacksonville.   The workshop was conducted by Denise Ertler, East Coast Workshop Coordinator and Field Representative for Mayco.  Mayco is active in NCECA, school conferences and instructs hands-on workshops nationwide.
The goal of First City Pottery Guild was to provide both a fun and informative day for our teachers, students, members and the local community.  Mayco provided materials and supplies for several versatile and vivid Mayco glaze techniques while focusing on texture and design.  A crowd favorite was stenciling, combining natural stencils and different Mayco specialty glazes.  Creativity fulled the room and the results were inspiring.  Mayco Cobblestone Specialty Glaze was used along with Stroke & Coat for another fun lesson.  Students used these products as instructed, but created their own designs on tiles.  The possibilities for future projects using this new information from Mayco is so exciting.
Denise Ertler also brought many new stoneware glazes and samples tiles along.  Each student was able to experiment with the stoneware glazes on pieces of their own design that they brought with them.  Many of these stoneware glazes can be overlapped to create beautiful new results. ?This workshop ran from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. only breaking briefly for a delicious pot luck lunch. This workshop was very beneficial for clay artist.  Companies like Mayco, Amaco, Duncan, Spectrum, etc. have so many different product lines many clay artists don't know how to use them to get the best results.  Workshops like these help educate our current members and students and we are hopeful that they will bring new people to First City Art Center. First City Potters Guild has been so pleased with the support and response on this workshop that we are already working on future workshops.

Mayco Glaze Workshop for Clay Artists

First City Art Center is now accepting registrations for its upcoming glazing technique workshop with guest instructor Denise Ertler, East Coast Workshop Coordinator for Mayco, on Monday, Feb. 11 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The workshop fee is $35 and class size is limited to 16 students. It will be held at First City Art Center, 1060 N. Guillemard St., Building 3.

The one-day workshop will cover new Mayco glazes, applications and techniques for the clay artist. This hands-on glazing workshop utilizes versatile and vivid Mayco glaze techniques while focusing on texture and design. Tips and techniques in stenciling, surface texturizing and stoneware glazing included. Tiles and glazes will be available for students to paint; students are also encouraged to bring a couple of their own pieces on which to sample glazes on.  A preview of new glazes, literature and information will be on hand.


For more information please contact us at 850-429-1222 or email

The one-day workshop will cover new Mayco glazes, applications and techniques for the clay artist. This hands-on glazing workshop utilizes versatile and vivid Mayco glaze techniques while focusing on texture and design. Blur the line between glaze firing ranges and expand your color and effects’ options through addition of low-fire textures and modifiers.

Stenciling at its Best!
Combine natural stencils and vivid Mayco glazes for innovative surface results

Surface Texture
Cobblestone Specialty Glaze & Stroke & Coat for bright textural touches to your glaze application!

Stoneware Glazes
Bring in a personal designed stoneware piece and design with Mayco’s beautiful stoneware glazes!

• Cone 04 tiles and glazes will be available
• Glaze pieces you bring. ((Stoneware pieces that have been fired to Cone 05 & bottom pre-waxed. Max. size 12”)
• Iron wash technique demo
• Preview of new glazes, literature and information will be on hand
• 30-minute potluck lunch ((Bring a covered dish to share and enjoy time meeting with fellow clay artists)


A Red Hot Time at February's Hot Glass, Cold Brew Event!

First City Art Center's (FCA) Hot Glass, Cold Brew, Valentines edition, on Friday, Feb. 8 - 5-9 p.m. was another huge success.  Nearly 300 spectators enjoyed demonstration pieces from Joe Thompson owner of  Bear Creek Glass Studio and Shane King, one of FCA's most recent mentorship graduates, along with other glass guild members. The FCA pottery guild also provided an added attraction by giving customers an opporutinity to glaze a pot for raku firing.  Throughout the night the pottery guild fired glazed pots that customers could take home.  Visitors enjoyed the talented band Three Bean Soup, our music guest in the covered patio.

FCA's new facility has allowed our signature event HGCB to become a multifaceted art experience.  No wonder we have named the building the Creative Warehouse. 

Our next HGCB event is March 22. While details are still being developed, it promises to be a lively display of art, music and libation.